written by Wyzeguy79
This story is based on continuity established by "The New Batman/Superman Adventures" animated series from the WB Network.
Batman created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger.
Cluemaster and Spoiler were created by Chuck Dixon.
A peanut is neither a peanut, nor a nut.
NOTES: This story is in pseudo-script format. I've written this as if the story were to be given to Bruce Timm to direct. The scene descriptions are in bold lettering, while the dialogue is in plain text. I'm leaving some of the descriptions vague and up to the "director's" imagination. Though, if I have specific imagery in mind for a given shot, I've included it. Enjoy!]
SUBURBS -ext. AFTERNOON
It's a fairly nice day, one of the few times you'll probably see a daytime scene on this show. The background music should be fairly cheerful, maybe with chirping birds added in. CLOSE IN on one house in particular, the humble home of one ARTHUR BROWN and just when this shot reaches its fill of "Leave It To Beaver"-ness...shrill rock music ERUPTS from inside, and a HIGHLY ANNOYED VOICE HOLLERS:
STEPHANIE'S music cuts off before he gets a chance to finish. A less-than enthused female voice in the background mutters:
CLOSEUP of ARTHUR'S downtrodden face. He raises a TV remote into camera view and changes the channel.
CLOSEUP of the TV, which shows a skin care product commercial. A teen model of about sixteen declares:
ARTHUR (off-camera voice)
The same shot, only the screen switches to another channel, this time with a young snowboarder zipping through the slope, powdered snow flying everywhere. An off-camera commentator's voice cuts in, revealing this to be a winter-sports show:
ARTHUR (still off-camera)
Bet he makes more than I do. Not that it's hard to do...
Again, same shot, different channel: A MUSIC VIDEO of some heavy metal group blasting the same kind of hyperkinetic music that STEPHANIE just turned off. The image is mostly dark, with blue and red strobe lights flickering and illuminating the band while they scream at the top of their lungs. All in all, it's a freak show of the highest order. This lasts maybe two seconds before the TV is turned off by remote control.
Shot of ARTHUR just sitting in the chair brooding for a moment.
Arthur then turns his attention to the newspaper in his hand. We can see over his shoulder the HEADLINE:
ARTHUR flips through the paper to the crossword puzzle. To his horror, he discovers it's already been completed, in noticeably feminine teenage lettering (I'm assuming the lettering style is that obvious).
WIDE SHOT of the entire living room, as ARTHUR leaps from his chair, newspaper in hand, and shouts toward the stairs:
Shot of the stairs, with a teenage girl of about thirteen slowly and hesitantly trudging down the stairs. Her long blond hair is tied in the back, and she's wearing a t-shirt and baggy jeans in "skater" style, both in her favorite color of ROYAL PURPLE (yes, children, this will be important later).
STEPH (rolling her eyes)
Yeah, yeah, I know: "Daddy's Crosswords Are Off-Limits."
(switching to accusational voice) Weird how you never complain about my room or the friends I hang out with like normal sane parents; instead the only two things you bother even mentioning are my music and your puzzles. Other than that I get absolutely nothing from you. No words. No acknowledgement, NOTHING! Why do you THINK I play my radio so loud and fill your puzzles? Just so you can bother to SPEAK to me!
The phone rings off-camera, interrupting. He glares at STEPH while the phone rings a second time, then walks away to answer the phone.
CLOSEUP of STEPH, who's trying to decide whether or to be disappointed or relieved. She sinks to a sitting position on a stair step and frowns as ARTHUR'S VOICE talks on the phone off-camera.
STEPHANIE (getting up)
I know, I know, "Go To Your Room, Steph."
STEPH gets halfway up the stairs when a MOTOR sound is heard. She and ARTHUR turn to look out the living room window.
We get a view of the window, through which we see a blue car pull up into the driveway. The car HONKS.
STEPH races up the stairs. The shot shows the staircase for a moment while rustling is heard. STEPH races back down the stairs, backpackin one hand and radio in the other.
Shot of ARTHUR opening the front door for her. STEPH stops only to kiss her father on the cheek, then resumes her charge out the door. ARTHUR closes the door with his usual grumpiness.
He looks out the window at STEPH, who piles her stuff into the car and gets in. Her mom noticeably never gets out.
ARTHUR'S HOUSE -ext.
Shot of the house, with Arthur visible from the other side of the window. The CAR in the foreground retreats from view, and the CAMERA closes in on the window, until it becomes a CLOSEUP of ARTHUR'S mournful face.
LIVING ROOM -int.
CAMERA'S EYE LEVEL is about at ARTHUR'S heels, as a black-and-white tomcat wanders into view, meowing.
ARTHUR looks down at his feet. He crouches and pets the cat, who looks suspiciously like a real-cat version of Sylvester (of "Sylvester and Tweety" fame).
He picks up the paper and looks at the front page headline.
ARTHUR walks over to the fireplace mantle, and picks up a GOTHAM CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL yearbook. He flips pages until he comes to picture of a younger version of himself in a heated chess match with a fellow classmate, which regular viewers might recognize as a younger EDWARD NYGMA, currently known as THE RIDDLER.
ARTHUR takes another look at the paper.
TIGHT CLOSEUP on the word, "RIDDLER".
BATCAVE -ext. NIGHT
PAN RIGHT past the stalactites on the cave's ceiling as a caption at the bottom of the screen reads:
The CAMERA still PANS RIGHTil the main COMMAND CENTER AREA is seen in the BACKGROUND, framed by two stalactites in the FOREGROUND. STOP PANNING and ZOOM IN on the CENTER. A silhouetted figure we immediately recognize as BRUCE "BATMAN" WAYNE sits at the BATCOMPUTER, his back to us. The faint clicking sound of fingers typing on keys is heard. BARBARA "BATGIRL" GORDON is seen standing at his left, also studying the screen. Her mask is off but she is otherwise clad in her BATGIRL COSTUME. Begin PANNING LEFT past BATMAN until we reach the GYM AREA, where the crimefighting denizens of the CAVE go through training. At the moment, the youngest member, TIM "ROBIN" DRAKE, can be seen doing pushups with ONE HAND. CLOSE IN on him.
TIM looks up, and the CAMERA PANS UP to reveal DICK "NIGHTWING" GRAYSON, the former ROBIN, standing in front of him leaning against a heavy punching bag. He's wearing a black shirt and matching jeans, not to mention an amused expression.
Ah, come onnnnn!!!!! What kind of an attitude is that for the fearless Robin?
TIM (resting on his elbows)
Did Bruce make YOU do this?
Absolutely. And I started a lot younger than you did. By the time I was thirteen I was doing FINGER PUSHUPS! You have it easy so far.
TIM ponders the concept, groans louder, and buries his head in his arms, defeated.
DICK grins from ear to ear and walks toward BATMAN and BATGIRL at the computer.
CLOSER SHOT of BATGIRL and BATMAN at the computer. BATGIRL turns as DICK sidles up to her.
BATMAN (TIGHT CLOSEUP, not bothering to look away from the screen)
Not until he was sixteen.
Just messing with the kid's mind.
Why do are you always tormenting him?
I never had a brother growing up. I'm making up for lost time.
So THAT explains the paintball war in the backyard last weekend.
BATMAN (looking from the screen to DICK)
And the itching powder Tim discovered in his mask.
DICK (looking guilty and apologetic)
BATMAN'S butler ALFRED is seen watching a TV over in the COMMUNICATIONS AREA. On the TV is a news report.
CLOSEUP of the TV SCREEN. Perennial anchorwoman SUMMER GLEASON reports:
CLOSEUP of BATMAN'S less-than-enthused reaction:
RIDDLER'S HIDEOUT -int. NIGHT
The same TV image continues on another set in a dark room. SLOWLY PULL OUT to reveal three figures watching the show, their outlines illuminated by the screen, the only light source in the room.
CLOSEUP of RIDDLER'S reaction in dim light. An intense look creeps onto his face.
WIDE SHOT of the room. RIDDER clicks off the TV by remote. The room is completely black for a moment, then a lamp is turned on, revealing the room to have green walls and floor, with purple furniture, including a large purple couch, which RIDDLER sits on, still staring blankly at the TV screen, deep in thought. Two women, RIDDLER'S sidekicks are also in the room. (their names escape me, so I'll call 'em "Q" and "A") Both are dressed in identical purple outfits with fishnet stockings. Q strides over to RIDDLER and puts a hand on his shoulder.
CLOSEUP of RIDDLER, who looks up from his reverie at Q.
I see you have competition.
Yes...this newcomer must be investigated. If I have a rival, then I welcome the challenge.
RIDDLER gets up and walks over to a closet.
VIEW from inside the CLOSET, looking out at RIDDLER, as he sifts through his wardrobe. He continues his conversation with Q.
SHOT of A walking up next to him.
RIDDLER selects his former green business suit (the cool kind he wore in the first series).
END ACT ONE
GOTHAM POLICE HEADQUARTERS, ROOFTOP -ext. NIGHT
DOWNSHOT of the roof, where COMMISIONER JAMES GORDON stands waiting.
Switch to a MEDIUM SHOT of GORDON, partially obscured by shadow. The BATSIGNAL is seen in the background, UNLIT because at the moment there's no emergency. He looks down at the fingers on his right hand, which count down from three. He turns around toward the BATSIGNAL.
VIEW of the shadowy wall GORDON'S looking at.
SAME SHOT, but a GRAY PARTIAL-SILHOUETTE emerges from the shadowed wall. The SILHOUETTE takes the familiar shape of BATMAN'S costume.
The Tannen gang wasn't merely acting alone. They revealed that their plans were set up by a man named Arthur Brown.
(pulls out a folder file from his trench coat and hands it to BATMAN)
Divorced male, 39 years old, one 13-year-old daughter. Works a day job fixing lawn mowers for John Tannen. 149 I.Q.
We see over BATMAN'S shoulder a black-and-white picture file of ARTHUR.
BATMAN (studying the profile)
Says here Brown's aptitude is directed toward puzzles and brain games.
Meaning he's a possible Cluemaster if anyone is.
BATMAN (nodding slightly)
So he created the Cluemaster persona to get Tannen's men off his case without implicating himself.
So have you found anything from your end?
CLOSEUP of BATMAN'S face.
Wonderful. Remind me to bring my pocket dictionary to their arrest.
ARTHUR'S HOUSE -ext. NIGHT
Shot of the house as seen from the driveway, mostly dark, but the light from the LIVING ROOM can be seen through the window.
ARTHUR'S LIVING ROOM -int. NIGHT
ARTHUR paces back and forth through the living room nervously, trying to come up with an idea. SLY is in the BACKGROUND, relaxing atop the couch the way most cats do. He seems as indifferent and bored as ever, in sharp contrast to ARTHUR.
CLOSEUP of SLY, who stares blankly at some patch of air just to the left of the CAMERA. ARTHUR continues pacing, wandering and out of the FRAME in SILHOUETTE.
CLOSEUP of ARTHUR, who stops in his tracks with sudden realization.
ARTHUR clasps his hands together with excitement. SLY looks up at him as if to say, "Great. What are you babbling about now?"
TIGHT CLOSEUP of ARTHUR at an odd angle.
GOTHAM STREET -ext. NIGHT
CLOSEUP of the top of a POLICE SQUAD CAR. Red and blue lights flash. The SIREN wails.
WORM'S EYE VIEW of the street. The SQUAD CAR passes overhead, the back of it visible to us as it diminishes in size down the street.
STRAIGHT-ON SHOT of the car's occupants: DETECTIVE RENEE MONTOYA (driving) and her partner SERGEANT HARVEY BULLOCK (eating a donut, as per usual). Both look intense as a DISPATCHER'S VOICE over the RADIO is heard:
MONTOYA (CLOSEUP, speaking into the CB)
Acknowledged, Montoya and Bullock on our way.
(hangs up the CB)
BULLOCK (in between chomps of a powdered donut)
Yeah...betcha five bucks Ol' Pointy Ears an' his goons show up there before we do...never fails...
MONTOYA (rolling her eyes, tired of BULLOCK'S constant complaining about BATMAN)
Give it a rest, Harve...
CORNER OF FINGER & BROOME -ext. NIGHT
TIGHT CLOSEUP of a PISTOL firing off two rounds at a target to the UPPER LEFT of the CAMERA.
WIDE SHOT of ROBIN, perched on a FIRE ESCAPE, frantically dodging the bullets. One bullet hits the wall behind him; the other shatters a nearby window. ROBIN FLINGS a small FLASH BOMB at the GUNMAN and DUCKS beneath another flying bullet.
MEDIUM SHOT of the GUNMAN getting hit in the shoulder with the flash bomb, which releases a BLINDING FLASH of LIGHT and causes the man to drop his gun and cover his eyes.
ROBIN peeks in the shattered WINDOW, checking to see if anyone was inside. To his relief, no one was.
He sees the GUNMAN pick up his gun and aim again, his vision clearing. ROBIN ducks out of CAMERA range and down the fire escape stairs. GUNMAN remains ON-CAMERA, turning to his right and visually following ROBIN. Suddenly, he falls in surprise, as if his legs have been knocked out from under him (which they were).
SHOT of ROBIN in the BACKGROUND, at the bottom of the stairs, looking at the GUNMAN in the FOREGROUND, lying on his back, out cold and OUT-OF-FOCUS.
NIGHTWING is seen standing over the GUNMAN, with a sarcastic expression on his face.
Geez, gimme a break, Nightwing, I was working on it.
Took too long. I thought you had this down. Your heart doesn't seem to be in it lately.
Maybe I'm just getting tired of being shot at and scolded all the time.
I'm not scolding--
ROBIN (interrupting angrily)
Seems like it! I can't do ANYTHING right these days! You're on my case more than Batman, which is saying something!
NIGHTWING (calm voice)
Tim...I just don't want you to to be as bad at this Robin thing as I was at thirteen--
So you're saying I'm BAD at this?
Wha? No, I'm not saying that at all! I'm--
Forget it. I'm outta here.
(walks off angrily)
CLOSEUP of NIGHTWING, watching ROBIN go. BATGIRL walks up next to him, sharing his concern.
The same thing I went through at his age, Babs: the feeling that everyone's on his case.
Doesn't EVERY thirteen-year-old go through that?
Sure...but most don't have to wear a mask and fight crime while they're going through it.
GOTHAM ALLEY -ext. NIGHT
We begin with a shot of the moon hanging in the night sky (which is red due to the amount of pollution in the city, or at least I think that's why it's red), hopefully symbolizing it's the next night. PAN DOWN to STREET LEVEL, where we see a figure entering the alley. CLOSE IN on him.
As it turns out, it's ARTHUR wearing a black trench coat and a blue jumpsuit underneath (I'll be honest: I hate his orange costume in the comics...ugh). Covering his mouth is a blue bandana. This is apparently his Cluemaster outfit.
He knocks on a door on the side of the building facing the alley. A few seconds pass, and he knocks again. A slot in the door slides open to reveal two suspicious eyes.
Uh...ah, The Cluemaster! I'm the Cluemaster. I'm here to see the Riddler. I deciphered the puzzle in his challenge. This is where he wanted to meet me.
Prove it. What's the password? It was also in the puzzle.
There wasn't one. There were a few misleading hints, but those were just to make me think there was supposed to be a password.
Correct. You may enter, but if you try somethin' funny, it's curtains and really sharp question marks for ya!
The door unlocks and opens, and CLUEMASTER hesitantly enters.
RIDDLER'S HIDEOUT -int. Q leads CLUEMASTER into a dark room, at the center of which is a single spotlight on the ceiling illumianting a circle on the floor. Q and CLUEMASTER stand in the spotlight. If CLUEMASTER were any more jittery than he is, he'd spontaneously combust.
Another spotlight twenty feet ahead cuts on, revealing a green chair with the RIDDLER sitting in it. He's wearing a green business suit, with black slacks, black button-up undershirt, purple tie with a green question mark on it, and a green derby hat. His question mark cane rests on the armrest.
CLUEMASTER (pulling down his bandana to reveal his face)
It's me, Eddie. Arthur Brown...from high school?
RIDDLER (taken aback)
"Arthur Br--" The Chess Team? The only other person in school besides me who would finish crossword puzzles at lunch? Arthur, how have you BEEN, you old scoundrel?
Uh...great, Eddie. Just great. Well, I got married, had a daughter. Got divorced, lost my job.
(cocks an eyebrow)
Uh...Eddie? What happened to your hair?
RIDDLER (lifts up his derby hat and feels his head, bald except for four red strands sticking straight up)
This? An imbecillic prank by The Joker a few years ago. It's just now growing back.
(putting his hat back on and changing the subject)
So now you're here as the Cluemaster?
It's...difficult to explain.
Is it now? Well anyway, it's time to play our game.
(nods to Q and A)
RIDDLER presses a button on his question mark cane.
ARTHUR'S eyes widen as he looks up.
A topless and bottomless BOX drops down around ARTHUR and clicks into place.
View from inside the box, looking up at the spotlight seen through the top. Q and A cover the top, eclipsing the light.
The last sliver of light illuminating CLUEMASTER fades.
RIDDLER (voice on intercom)
Relax, Arthur. It's just a test to see how good at puzzle-solving you are. Just find a way out and you'll be fine. You have thirty seconds. Then the air runs out. Good luck!
RED, YELLOW, and GREEN LIGHTS at the bottom of the box illuminate ARTHUR and the inside of the box. All three lights seem to flicker erratically, making the shot look like a 'shroom trip or something. There seems to be no random pattern to the lights...except for the green one, which flickers in MORSE CODE the word, "FANTASTIC."
CLOSEUP of ARTHUR, who suddenly recognizes the code. Inspiration hits, and he smirks.
ARTHUR'S foot pushes the green light fixture to the side, All the lights cut off.
VIEW of the BOX from outside, which raises up, revealing ARTHUR, who drops to his knees on the verge of hyperventillating. A CLAPPING SOUND is heard as Q and A walk into CAMERA RANGE.
But you passed the test. And how may I ask did you do that, for the record?
The green light...was flickering in Morse Code. It spelled out, "Fantastic." I guessed the clue was, "Trip the Light Fantastic." So I pushed the light fixture to the side with my foot.
I'm impressed. Good work Arthur. Lucky guess.
"Lucky guess?" My dad was in the service, remember? I was the one that tought you Morse Code!
Ah, yes. So you did. Well, that's enough puzzle-solving for you, Arthur.
So you'll let me live?
Now, Arthur, I didn't say THAT. I just stated that's enough puzzle-solving.
RIDDLER smiles. Q and A raises their guns and grin as well. ARTHUR'S jaw drops.
Yes, and quite well. I enjoyed the reunion, Arthur. The problem is, remember that chess game we played back in high school you cheated on? I never HAVE gotten over that.
Q and A advance toward ARTHUR, who breaks into a frantic run.
He gets to the door and tries to open it, but it's locked, naturally.
A prepares to fire her gun.
ARTHUR removes a SMOKE BOMB from his TRENCH COAT and throws it at A. It goes off, releasing a puff of smoke and causing A to fire her gun wildy.
The stray bullet hits the door lock. ARTHUR opens the door and escapes.
GOTHAM ALLEY -ext. NIGHT RIDDLER'S henchwomen follow him, but find the alley empty. They peek around the corner into a crowded street full of ordinary people. They're unable to pick out ARTHUR in the crowd.
They walk back to the hideout door, where RIDDLER'S eyes are visible through the slot in the door.
Disappointing. I was looking forward to getting even for that transgression.
(eyebrows furrow, suddenly pondering something)
Wait...he DID say he had a daughter...
STEPHANIE'S HOUSE -ext. NIGHT
We see STEPH'S house, in black silhouette except for the lights on inside, visible through the windows. Make sure the house is shaped differently than ARTHUR'S house, since the shape will be the only differentiation between the two. CLOSE IN on a second-story window.
STEPH'S ROOM -int. NIGHT
Inside the room we see the usual pile of stuff one would find in a teenager's bedroom/habitat, including books and dirty clothes on the floor, an unmade bed, assorted weird stuff perched on her dressers (as well as three Karate Tournament trophies), and TV/VCR/CD player, and finally, STEPH herself at her desk, typing on her computer.
A closer look at the computer screen reveals she's in a chatroom, typing a statement in a message bar at the bottom of the screen, while new messages appear in the chat box above the message bar at astonishing speeds.
I said, "In a minute, Mom!"
AND I SAID, "NOW!!"
She types a little more, then hits ENTER and gets up out of her chair while putting on her jacket. After she leaves the room, SLOWLY PAN to the window, where Q's head pops up into view, then ducks out of view.
STEPH'S HOUSE LIVING ROOM -ext. NIGHT
STEPH trudges down the stairs, where her mother is waiting with two large trash bags full of refuse.
STEPH takes the bags without answering, and walks toward the front door.
STEPH stops in her tracks.
STEPH'S HOUSE DRIVEWAY -ext. NIGHT
STEPH walks the length of the driveway, dragging two large bags full of garbage, and muttering under her breath, as per usual. She stops when she sees that she has company: fishnet stocking-covered legs walk into camera range...
ARTHUR'S HOUSE -int. NIGHT
Begin with a CLOSEUP of ARTHUR'S hands stuffing clothes into a duffel bag. The jig is up and he knows it.
ARTHUR zips up the bag, then picks it up off the bed and prepares to exit the bedroom. He stops and looks down at his feet.
His cat SLY rubs against his legs, obviously sensing ARTHUR'S about to leave. ARTHUR bends down mournfully and pets his cat.
A VOICE startles ARTHUR.
ARTHUR looks up at BATMAN, who stares back with a stony expression.
ARTHUR scowls and stands up.
I wouldn't be too sure of that. And I'm not going to take you in...yet. First we have to find your daughter.
ARTHUR (eyes widening)
My d--Stephanie? Find her?!
She was abducted from her home. Guess who was responsible. Plus, the Tannen gang was reportedly broken out of their holding cells.
BATMAN (pulling out a note from his belt)
His henchwoman left this with Stephanie's mother.
ARTHUR (reading the note)
Wha...it gives the exact address of where she's being held... Gotham Central High School?!
CLOSEUP of the note, which reads:
So what's this about "old scores" and "no cheating"?
He's referring to a chess game we played back in high school. A tournament. I cheated. I got disqualified, but Eddie's never forgiven me for it.
He's never been one for cheaters. He demands that his opponents play by the rules. His rules. Let's not keep him waiting.
GOTHAM CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL -ext. NIGHT
We see the outside of the high school long enough to hear Q shout from inside:
GOTHAM HIGH SCHOOL HALLWAY -int. NIGHT
Q and A lead STEPHANIE through the hallway in handcuffs.
I said "Shut up and keep moving!"
STEPH (casting a glance toward Q)
I thought SHE said that.
Just be quiet.
They continue along the hallway. Up ahead on the side is a mannequin in graduation garb. Next to it is the entrance to a stairwell.
STEPH suddenly dives beside the mannequin and kicks it over.
The mannequin falls on Q, while A raises her gun and tries to fire at STEPH...
...who's already entered the stairs. The door closes behind her.
GOTHAM CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL PARKING LOT -ext.
The BATMOBILE pulls up. Its canopy slides open.
BATMAN rises out in his usual all-business-but-nonetheless-dramatic fashion, and looks toward Arthur, who's also exiting the vehicle, much less gracefully and in his CLUEMASTER outfit.
ARTHUR (blinking uncomprehendingly)
"Robin?" Did I miss something?
ROBIN'S head pops out of a space behind the seats, scaring the living hot sauce out of ARTHUR. He'd apparently been in there the whole time unbeknownst to ARTHUR.
HIGH SCHOOL HALLWAY -int. NIGHT
Q and A peek through each class door methodically.
Or...question marks, more accurately. Sharp ones, no less.
(peeks in a doorway)
COSTUME STORAGE -int. NIGHT VIEW of the room she's looking in. This is apparently a storage room for costumes from past stage plays.
A and Q enter warily, walking among the various costumes hanging from coat hangers or unfinished on mannequins.
They spot STEPH'S purple jacket in a corner of the room.
Q sneaks up to it and grabs it forcefully. STEPH isn't in it. A figure in a weird purple cloaked outfit and hood stirs behind them, apparently not a mannequin after all. Q and A turn around...
...and see an extreme closeup of STEPH in the costume, leaping at them with foot outstretched.
HIGH SCHOOL AUDITORIUM -ext. NIGHT
The room is dark as ARTHUR enters. He walks slowly forward, trying to adjust to the darkness.
The STAGE LIGHTS cut on, revealing RIDDLER sitting at a CHESS TABLE facing ARTHUR. The chair across from RIDDLER is empty, apparently ARTHUR'S seat. Guarding the STAGE are JOHN TANNEN and his GOONS.
CLOSEUP of the RIDDLER, grinning like someone who's about to enjoy his payback.
ARTHUR reluctantly makes his way to the STAGE, and sits in the empty chair, eyeing TANNEN and his men warily.
ARTHUR takes a deep breath, exhales, studies the board...
...then suddenly sweeps it off the table with his right hand while rising from his seat and grabbing RIDDLER by the collar with his left hand. The table falls over as ARTHUR stares threateningly into RIDDLER'S eyes.
RIDDLER stares back wide-eyed and slack-jawed, completely taken off-guard by ARTHUR'S sudden outburst. He finds himself at an uncharacteristic loss for words.
TANNEN'S GANG, on the other hand, cock their pistols, aiming at ARTHUR'S head.
Yeah, Riddler, we got it taken care of. 'Cept we don't work for you. We agreed to be part of this little rematch only 'cause you sprang us from the slammer, and 'cause we got a score to settle with Artie here for sellin' us out.
So if we gotta shoot you to get ta Artie-boy, well, tough. Looks like this just ain't a good day for either one o' ya.
BATMAN (off-camera voice)
It's a good day for you even less, Tannen.
TANNEN, HIS MEN, ARTHUR, and RIDDLER all look around, then up.
FOLLOW TANNEN'S GAZE up to a railing above him, where BATMAN is perched. He leaps off of the railing and drops FEET-FIRST toward the CAMERA. A sudden FLASH OF LIGHT fills the screen, accompanied by a "THUD" sound.
TANNAN hits the floor hard as BATMAN lands, already dispatching one of the GOONS with a BATARANG. He ducks into a forward roll as the rest of the men fire at him.
He comes to a stop by the fallen table and chairs (where ARTHUR and RIDDLER can just barely be seen in the frame), bullets striking the hardwood stage floor. BATMAN picks up one of the metal chairs and blocks incoming bullets with it.
He charges and swings the chair at the nearest GUNMAN, clobbering him thoroughly, while launching a side kick into another GUNMAN'S jaw.
RIDDLER and ARTHUR view this with interest. ARTHUR'S hands are only loosely holding onto RIDDLER'S lapels, which RIDDLER takes full advantage of.
BATMAN watches RIDDLER go while launching an elbow into the jaw of a GUNMAN behind him, then bends down to check on ARTHUR.
HIGH SCHOOL HALLWAY -int. NIGHT
STEPHANIE is seen in-costume, making her way toward the auditorium. She flips down her purple hood, and removes the blue mask underneath, revealing a look of anxiety and concern. An OFF-CAMERA VOICE startles her.
ROBIN emerges from behind a large potted plant.
STEPH (pulling her mask and hood back on)
You're a fine one to talk. And call me "The Spoiler."
ROBIN (doing a double take in bafflement)
Yeah...as in the kind that ruins the enjoyment of riddles and puzzles. I'm about to spoil The Riddler's fun.
No way. It's too dangerous.
My father's in trouble! I have to save him!
ROBIN (somber tone)
You feel responsible for him, don't you?
Wha...? I mean...well, yeah...
I know what that's like. You watch your dad make the wrong decisions...and you feel helpless. Like you should save him from himself. I've been there.
SPOILER (even more surprised)
Well, your dad's Batman. I suppose you have.
ROBIN gives SPOILER a puzzled look.
Uh...no. My dad's...dead. Don't blame yourself for the choices your dad makes.
Q and A charge toward them from down the hall, guns raised.
GOTHAM HIGH SCHOOL AUDITORIUM BACKSTAGE -int. NIGHT.
BATMAN searches through the clutter of stage props and equipment in search of RIDDLER.
Traps? What makes you think I've hidden traps?
I know you. If you weren't trying to lure me into a trap, you would have been out the door by now.
Fair enough. Have it your way.
He looks up just in time to see a heavy sandbag fall toward him.
BATMAN rolls out of the way of the sandbag, which hits a button on a platform and activates a giant spring underneath the section of floor BATMAN is standing on.
BATMAN is catapulted into the air, toward a wall covered with spikes. It appears RIDDLER has been busy.
BATMAN quickly removes his grappling hook gun from his belt and fires it at a rafter behind him.
The GRAPPLING HOOK embeds itself into the rafter.
The cord is pulled taut, and BATMAN stops, his feet just inches from the spikes. He begins his downward descent swinging on the cable.
So this conflict degenerates into mindless fisticuffs? *Sigh* How unimaginative.
BATMAN (stepping toward RIDDLER, interrogating)
Where's Stephanie Brown?
Who knows? I instructed my ladies to bring her to the auditorium, but apparently they can't even do that right!
The Exit door swings open, as two small caped figures, ROBIN and SPOILER, dive into the room to escape the gunshots going off in the hallway.
ROBIN closes the door while SPOILER sees RIDDLER and charges him.
SPOILER tackles RIDDLER onto a piano and grabs him by the collar.
"Father...?" So then you must be Stephanie.
ROBIN covers his eyes with his hand in embarrasment.
ARTHUR enters the room from the stage, chased by TANNEN'S MEN.
Q and A kick down the stage exit door and enter.
Arkham is beginning to look quite appealing right about now...
BATMAN pushes a wooden prop onto the men.
ROBIN and SPOILER dive for cover as Q and A's fire at them.
SPOILER quickly removes a BATARANG from ROBIN'S utility belt.
SPOILER throws the BATARANG at Q. It swerves to the left and spirals to the ground, missing Q completely.
'Cause you threw it wrong.
SPOILER picks up a discarded mop and swings it at Q, who ducks. Q straightens up and prepares to counterattack, but SPOILER swings her mop low and sweeps Q's legs out from under her.
She turns just in time to see A deliver a roundhouse kick toward her chin.
ROBIN pulls SPOILER out of the way of the kick and grabs SPOILER'S mop. He uses the mop to block A's next kick, then tosses the mop at A, who scrambles to catch it.
SPOILER launches a side kick into A's exposed stomach, sending her into a curtain.
ROBIN (raising an eyebrow)
BATMAN busies himself with TANNEN'S MEN. He locks GOON #1's arm behind his back, catches GOON #2's leg under his arm, while GOON #3 grabs BATMAN's neck in a headlock.
He shoves GOON #1 into GOON #2, while using his momentum to throw GOON #3 off balance, causing him to lose his grip on BATMAN'S neck. BATMAN lets go of #1's arm and #2's leg, then elbows #3 in the ribs. He grabs #3's arm and shoulder-throws him on top of the other two.
BATMAN looks up just in time to see ARTHUR punch JOHN TANNEN in the stomach with one fist, then the face with the other.
RIDDLER realizes he's surrounded and backs away slowly.
He stops suddenly when he remembers the placement of the rest of his traps. A snapping sound is heard and he looks down.
BATMAN, ROBIN, and ARTHUR hear a springing noise and RIDDLER'S sudden yell. They look up...
...and see RIDDLER sitting in a cargo net suspended from the ceiling, rocking back and forth with a frown on his face.
GOTHAM PARKING LOT -ext.
A swarm of cop cars, police officers, and other people gather.
COMMISIONER GORDON tries to comfort STEPH'S MOM.
Yeah, but by that Batman! How can you be sure she's okay with that vigilante?
Commissioner! They're coming out of the school!
I'm fine, Mom. Really. Um...Mom? You're squishing me...
ARTHUR (bowing his head)
But the good news is that since you were being forced to work for them, and that you did tip us off to them, we are prepared to offer leniency if you testify against them and the Riddler.
ARTHUR (smiling slightly)
All right. But first, may I have a moment with my daughter?
BATMAN and ROBIN frame the FOREGROUND, as ARTHUR and STEPH talk in the background. SLOWLY CLOSE IN on them. We can't hear what they're saying, but after a minute they hug with newfound understanding.
BATMAN/BRUCE WAYNE: Kevin Conroy
ROBIN/TIM DRAKE: Matthew Valencia
BATGIRL/BARBARA GORDON: Tara Charendoff
NIGHTWING/DICK GRAYSON: Loren Lester
ALFRED PENNYWORTH: Efrem Zimbalist Jr.
COMMISIONER JAMES GORDON: Bob Hastings
SUMMER GLEESON: Jodi Baskerville
HARVEY BULLOCK: Robert Costanza
RENEE MONTOYA: Liane Schimmer
RIDDLER: John Glover
CLUEMASTER/ARTHUR BROWN: Norm Spencer
SPOILER/STEPHANIE BROWN: Melissa Joan Hart
Q & A: Lenore Zann MS. BROWN: Catherine Disher
JOHN TANNEN: Jeff Bennet