22 Minutes Since Abduction...
Robin wakes up to find himself being dragged down a corridor. Later he finds himself strung by his arms in the middle of a makeshift base. Dr. Light absorbs power from a light bulb, and Robin taunts him over his name. The villain comes over and tells him to shut up, and Robin kicks him, spins him around, and gets him in a chokehold with his legs. Once Dr. Light is unconscious, Robin dislocates his thumbs to escape and heads for the stairway... only to find Deathstroke waiting for him, sword drawn.
In Chicago, Kory drives for the airport and calls Rachel.
In San Francisco, Rachel is sleeping as the darkness floats over her. Her phone rings but Rachel remains unconscious. Gar comes in and sees the darkness, and reaches out to touch it. It cuts his wrist, and Rachel jerks awake as Gar moans in pain. She apologizes for injuring him and asks him not to tell the others, and Gar says that Jason is gone. Dick comes in behind them and asks what happened to Jason.
Gar and Dick go to the monitor room and Gar explains what happened. Dick tells Gar to write down everything that he remembers while searching for Jason's tracker. The search comes up negative, and Gar points out that the concrete in the tunnels would mask the tracker signal. Dick gets an idea and continues working.
Later in the kitchen, Rachel and Gar talk about Jason's abductions. Gar complains that they're not helping in the search, and says that the others don't trust them and are barely talking to each other. He asks Rachel to touch them and find out what is going on, but Rachel refuses. She says that since she got the gem in her forehead from her father, her powers have been different.
Dick tells Donna, Hank, and Dawn what happened, and Hank tells Dick not to blame himself. Undeterred, Dick says that he's redirected the satellites to the area to sweep for Jason's tracker. The older Titans go to the tunnels and split up to search, and Dick finds where Robin fought Dr. Light. He summons the others, and they determine the tracks disappear a hundred feet down. Dick figures that Dr. Light is using Jason as bait, and Hank says that it's because of Dick and his idea to start up the Titans again. Donna and Dawn walk away to get Jason, and Dawn tells Hank that it's all of their faults so the two men should get over it and move on.
Dr. Light and Deathstroke listen in via a hidden surveillance camera, while Robin sits nearby, tied up. Deathstroke merely stares as Dr. Light realizes that Robin has a tracking device in him. Dick finds the camera and destroys it, and Dr. Light asks Deathstroke why he isn't doing anything. Deathstroke says that what is happening is good, and Dr. Light complains that ever since Deathstroke found out Rose was with the Titans, Deathstroke has lost focus. The older villain says that he's glad to provide Dr. Light with results if he wants them, and Dr. Light says that he'll take care of the Titans himself and walks out.
Once Dr. Light leaves, Deathstroke scans the blindfolded Robin for the tracking implant and finds it in his thigh. He says that the Titans are looking for Robin but will find Dr. Light, and cuts out the implant with a knife.
Dr. Light goes to his truck and gets in. He starts it up and turns on the music, and Deathstroke shoots him through the head, killing him.
At the Tower, Gar tells Rose that the older Titans are still searching for Jason. Gar says that Jason could be getting burned to a crisp, and Rose wonders how she could help. Rose says that Jason did it to himself and Gar shouldn't project his guilt on her. Gar joins Rachel in the monitor room and complains about Rose. Rachel tells him not to let Rose bother him, and points out that it wasn't Rose's fault. She complains that Gar didn't come to her, and Gar talks about how her darkness and how she can't control it. Rachel angrily insists that her powers are fine and says that Gar and Jason didn't think it through, and Gar yells at her.
The security alert goes off at the main entrance as Kory is denied entrance. Rachel sees her on the monitor and goes to get her. Gar apologizes but Rachel ignores him. Jason's tracker goes off on the computers.
Dick and the others track the signal to Dr. Light's corpse, and realize that someone cut Jason's tracker out of Jason. A cellphone in Dr. Light's belt rings, and Dick answers it. Deathstroke figures that they found his "gift", and when Robin yells, Deathstroke beats him. The villain then says that if they want Robin back, they have to hand over Rose. Dick asks how they can trust him, and Deathstroke gives them a time and place.
Rachel tells Kory where the others are, and Kory asks what is up with her. The girl finally reveals the cuts on her back, and explains about the black cloud. Rachel explains that it started after Trigon was destroyed, and figures that it's her rather than her father. When Trigon ripped out her heart, Rachel turned into something she can't control. Kory says that Rachel is undergoing transfiguration and on her planet Tamaran, royalty wear bracelets to constrain their starfire powers. The bracelets don't work on Kory, and Kory says that people like them are destined to be special. She warns that the harder Rachel tries to repress her powers, the worst they'll become. Kory tells Rachel that they're not born good or bad, and the choices they make define their destiny. She says that ultimately, Rachel has to choose to be good.
Dick and the others take the elevator up, and Kory asks them what happened to Jason. Dick leads her and the others to the training room, leaving Rachel, Gar, and Rose in the kitchen. Rachel figures it's bad and Dick believes they can't handle hearing the truth, and Gar says that he knows where they can find out.
In the training room, Hank complains that they should have thrown Rose out as soon as they knew she was Deathstroke's daughter. He figures they should hand Rose over to get Jason back, and wants to end things with Deathstroke once and for all. Dawn says that the only reason they're alive is because Rose is there. Gar, Rachel, and Rose watch the video on the monitor, and Rose asks where the sound is. When Gar hesitates, Rose asks him if he gets tired being lied to. Rachel says that Dick is protecting them by keeping them out of it, but Rose figures the older Titans are hiding something and wants to know what it is.
Gar turns on the sound and they listen as Donna says they barely survived Deathstroke's last attack. Hank tells the others that Jason is one of them and Rose isn't, and he figures that it's the right thing. Kory asks Dick if he's good with it. Gar and Rachel tell Rose that it's just talk, but Rose tells them to let her listen.
Donna says that Rose is Deathstroke's kid and she'll be safer further away from them. Dawn refuses to go down the same path they did before, and Hank says that he'll take Rose to the rendezvous himself. Rachel and Gar realize that Rose has left.
Rose runs past the training room and the older Titans hear her. Gar runs up and says that Rose overheard them talking about them giving her up and is trying to leave. Dick locks down the floor and calls to Rose, who hides. She continues looking for an exit and Hank finds her. She attacks him and Hank finally gets serious and puts her in a chokehold. Dawn arrives and tells him to let Rose go, and Rose breaks Hank's hold and runs off.
When Rose arrives in the kitchen, she finds Rachel waiting for her. Rachel promises that Dick will make sure Rose is safe, and Rose attacks her when she refuses to move. Her opponent blocks her blows but Rose knocks her to the floor. The darkness emerges from Rachel and she easily block's Rose's next blow, and then throws her to the floor. Rachel slides her across the floor, slamming her against a pillar and breaking all of the bones in her body, and then pulls the darkness back into herself. The others arrive as Rachel realizes what she's done, and Rachel stares at them for a moment and then runs off. Kory goes after her, and Hank tells Dick that he's sorry things turned out the way they did. As Dawn checks Rose's pulse, Rose's bones snap back into place.
Kory catches up to Rachel. and Rachel tells her that some of them are born bad. When Dick arrives, he discovers that Rachel is gone. Kory asks him which problem does he want to fix first.
Robin tells Deathstroke that Rose deserves better than him for a father. He says that the Titans will never get Rose up, and Deathstroke tells him that he'll be the price that they pay. As Deathstroke sharpens his sword, he tells Robin that he's been played by Dick and lead like a lamb to the slaughter. He tells Robin that he'll soon learn that death leads to purification.
Kory and Donna drink, and Kory asks why Deathstroke is getting under everyone's skin. Donna doesn't answer, and Kory talks about how Faddei tried to take her back to Tamaran. Kory admits that she's royalty and the next-in-line for the throne. She wants to stay on Earth but wonders if she has a choice. Donna says that she'd rather be someone else.
Dawn finds Hank in the training room and tells him that Rose's vitals are stable. She assures Hank that she's going to get Jason back, but Hank says that he knows what it's like sitting in the dark praying for anybody to come and save them. Nobody ever came for Hank, and admits that he's not ready to give up on Jason. Dawn tells Hank that they can't turn themselves into monsters fighting Deathstroke, and holds Hank.
Later, Dawn finds Dick and says that they need to talk. She asks if it's over after they kill Deathstroke, and says that what they did is all coming back on them. Dawn figures none of it is on the kids, and it wasn't right for Dick to avoid the truth. She asks Dick how many people have to die for Dick to realize what he's done is a mistake. As Dick stares at her, Dawn says that it isn't about them anymore. She tells him to end his "experiment" or she'll burn the place down herself.
Dick gathers the others and says that they just can't do nothing. He agrees to make the trade, Rose for Jason. Dick tells Gar and Rachel to stay with Rose while he contacts Deathstroke and confirms their meeting... and then they take Deathstroke down once and for all, as a team.
As Dick gathers his gear, Kory approaches him. He asks if she's going home like he's heard, and admits that he'd like it if she stayed with the team. Kory wonders why he didn't ask for help before, and Dick explains that he came to San Francisco to get out of Batman's shadow. He created the Titans with the others, but that version didn't end so well. When Garth died, it nearly broke them all. Dick admits that he didn't know how to ask for help when he came back, and thought it was the right thing to do not to ask anyone for help. He asks Kory for help, and she agrees to think about it.
The Titans surround the plaza where Deathstroke is meeting them for the exchange. Dick goes off on his own, taking the elevator up. He destroys his earbud and mutters that he has other plans. Dick then goes to an office under construction and calls to Deathstroke, saying that he knows it doesn't have to do with Jason or Rose. He figures Deathstroke wants revenge for what happened, and says that he wants it to end once and for all. Dick suggests that they make a deal and removes his Kevlar vest, and says that Deathstroke can have him instead of Rose or Jason. He puts his hands on his head and drops to his knees.
Deathstroke steps out of the shadows and fires several bullets around Dick. He tells Dick that he's not going to dictate how it goes, and says that he's a conman preying on those weak enough to follow him. Dick tells him to get it over with, and Deathstroke tells him to get up. He then opens a window, revealing Robin outside tied to a window washer's platform. Explosives are rigged to the cable holding it up, and Deathstroke prepares to detonate the charge.
Kory blasts Deathstroke, forcing him to dodge. She steps out, and Deathstroke shoots at both of them. Kory burns the bullets, and Dick grabs the Kevlar vest and deflects the others. As a helicopter arrives, Dick and Kory take on Deathstroke. Kory grabs him and tells Dick to get Robin, then grabs a pipe to use as a weapon. Deathstroke throws pellets at her that explode when she blasts them, knocking her unconscious.
Deathstroke prepares to kill her with his sword, but Dick returns and blocks the blow. The villain disarms Dick, and Kory recovers and blasts Deathstroke. Deathstroke drops a flash-bang grenade to deafen them and grabs the detonator, then activates it. Robin has managed to get free and clutches to the ledge below, and Dick runs over and grabs his hand. However, he loses his grip and Robin falls down the side of the building.
Written by Gadfly on Oct 5, 2019