DC Animated Universe
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"His Maker's Name" is the second episode of The Zeta Project. It first aired on February 3, 2001. Zeta and Ro travel to meet Dr. Arroyo, one of the scientists who helped build him. But Agent Bennet gets to Arroyo first and uses him to lure Zeta into an ambush.

Plot[]

Act One[]

Zeta Analyzes Project Zeta Photo

Zee studiously analyzes the photo he retrieved of Project Zeta scientists.

Driving through an auto-pilot section of the Interstate Mag-Way just outside of Pittsburgh, Zeta begins studying the data he retrieved from the NSA regarding Project Zeta. Bored by the lack of company, Ro reminds her new companion that he has a human with him now, and sometimes that requires conversation. Zee tells her that, in his studying, he's been able to find multiple names of scientists who were on the project, but still isn't sure where they can be found. However, with the possibility that any of them may be working in less classified work now, he posits that a web search may be enough to get the information he needs. Knowing just where they can get web access, Ro tells Zee to switch off autopilot and take the next exit.

At a nearby Ground Wire, Ro sends Zee to get her a drink while she tries to find an open computer. Zeta returns with Ro's drink, but not being human, misunderstood her request. Disgusted at the mix of Root Beer, Cherry, and Cola, Ro spits the drink out as Zeta goes on about not understanding the difference between the phrasing of her drink order and when she previously order a Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato sandwich. Not wanting to get into the nuance of it all, Ro suggests they turn to the task at hand and takes another sip from the drink, seemingly warming up to the strange concoction.

HisMakersName

Zeta finds info on Nelson Arroyo

Searching the web, Zeta finds a match with one of the scientists from his file, Dr. Nelson Arroyo, who is now working for Dyron Aerospace, a company in Ohio. The two exit the cyber cafe just as a dog that got loose from its owner runs into the road. Attempting to save the pet, Zeta blows his cover, extending his arm to grab the bumper of a car that came inches from striking the dog. This causes a comotion as onlookers mumble amongst themselves about what they just saw. "Way to blend in Superman," Ro retorts.

At NSA Headquartes, Agent Lee informs Agent Bennet of a news report on Zee's heroics. Inserting himself into the conversation, Agent West responds in disbelief that Zeta could possibly need a cyber cafe. Disregarding West, Bennet tasks Lee with dispatching a field team to figure out what the rogue infiltration unit was doing, hoping that his internet search history could help lead the agents to the synthoids current whereabouts. As the agents move out, West is left behind with the lights turned out on him.

Zeta and Ro arrive at Dyron Aerospace as a group of Spaceys, a group upset over the cost of space travel and believe it should be free for everybody, are protesting out front. As an employee leaves the building, Zee transforms himself to sneak in. However, Ro points out that the current disguise doesn't accommodate for her, and Zee changes the disguise to replicate a woman late into-pregnancy, allowing Ro to hold onto him from behind the hologram field as he walks in.

Making their way to Arroyo's lab, Zee and Ro find a surface-explorer for unmanned missions to other planets that the scientist is in the midst of working on. Before they can look much further, the two are met by an automated defense drone. Programmed to take out intruders, the drone begins to fire at the duo and sets off the alarm.

Act Two[]

Zeta makes an attempt to communicate with the drone, one killer robot to another, but to no avail. Using a periscope built into one of his fingers, the synthoid surveils his surroundings, and diverts the drone's attention by throwing a piece of the surface-explorer across the room. With the drone distracted by the sound, Zeta leaps from behind his cover and decapitates the robot with a buzz saw built into his right arm. As security guards rush to Arroyo's lab, Zee quickly disguises himself as a fellow guard, projecting a Spacey necklace around Ro's neck. The other security guards express skepticism, but ultimately allow the two to exit the building.

Outside, the security guards attempt to herd the Spaceys back towards their bus but are met with resistance until the NSA arrives. In the commotion, Zee and Ro sneak onto the bus and accompany the Spaceys back to their compound. Realizing the duo are in trouble, Scruffy offers them sanctuary for as long as they may need it. Meanwhile. back at Dyron Aerospace, the NSA agents are inspecting the wreckage of Dr. Nelson Arroyo's lab. Questioning Arroyo, Agent Bennet convinces the previous member of Project Zeta's design team that the rogue infiltration unit intends to eliminate the doctor.

After a short time, the Spaceys decide to head back to Dyron Aerospace to see if it's safe for them to continue their protest without interference from the feds. Ro offers to join, but Zee expresses concern that if Bennet and his men are still present, things could quickly turn south. Desperate to leave the compound, she grabs a jacket and hat from a nearby coat rack and assures Zeta that this new disguise will be more than enough to conceal her identity. However, once the group arrives at Dyron, Ro's plans to lay low are thrown out the window as she witnesses Dr. Nelson Arroyo leave the facility. Following the scientist to a stop light, Ro hops into his idled vehicle. Telling Arroyo that she's Zeta, the driver is thrown into a panic and almost crashes the car before Ro is able to commandeer the wheel and explain Zeta's recent change in heart.

Act Three[]

Back at the Spacey compound, Zeta is practicing stretching exercises when he receives a call from Ro, informing Zee about the conversation she just had with Dr. Arroyo. She tells her friend that the Doctor is willing to meet with him, but only under his terms. Believing Ro is taking too many risks, Zeta ends the call, telling her to stay put. Still curious to meet with the Doctor, the synthoid stakes out the proposed meeting area until he believes it to be safe.

Unbeknownst to Zeta, Agent Bennet hides nearby feeding Arroyo directions. The doctor worked to help the NSA booby trap the meeting ground with an electromagnetic field capable of trapping Zeta but allowing the Doctor to walk right through the trap. As the two get closer, Zeta drops his hologram and begins to tell the Doctor his story and ask for his help.

Zeta realizes it's a set up

Zeta realizes he was set up by Dr. Arroyo

Still anxious about the whole ordeal, Dr. Arroyo runs from the synthoid, and Agent Bennet reveals himself. The NSA agent activates the electromagnetic field, finally trapping the rogue infiltration unit within. As the trap encases Zeta within, Arroyo hurriedly rushes towards the edge. Quickly, the trap begins to move in on Zeta, destroying small pieces of scrap metal all along the way.

Meanwhile, back with the Spaceys, Ro grows tired of their babbling. Frustrated, she shouts that they're delusional if they think Dyron Aerospace will ever change it's ways. Bodhi, however, points out how she changed Arroyo's mind earlier. Suddenly hit with an epiphany that Bennet was involved, Ro tells the Spacey's that her friend needs their help. And does he ever! Back with Zeta, the electromagnetic field continues to move in, and continues to blow pieces of scrap metal to bits. Still in the field, Arroyo cowers as Zeta continues to maintain his ground as far from the barrier as possible. Acting out of sheer terror, the scientist flings himself at a giant metal container at the traps edge marked "Caution: Explosive Bolts". Just in time, Zeta leaps ahead of the scientist, catches him, and rockets out of the way of the blast.

Suddenly, a piece of debris strikes the trap, leaving an opening in the barrier. Still within, Nelson Arroyo begins to realize that his synthoid savior may not be as terrifying as he once believed. Feeling guilt over luring Zeta into a trap, Arroyo finally notices the hole in the field, and leads the charge to escape using a nearby vehicle. As the NSA agents begin pursuit, the remnants of the electro magnetic field explode. As Zee and Arryo turn to see the fate of their followers, the NSA hover bus emerges from a field of smoke and fire, dangling from the bus's door, while Bennet takes aim at the getaway car, but to his dismay Ro and the Spaceys arrive on the scene, crashing their bus head on against the NSA hovercraft.

Finally with a reason to stand up to the federal agents, the Spaceys form a picket line, refusing to allow the government stooges through to reach their targets. With a distraction provided; Zeta, Ro, and the Doctor make their escape. Bennet attempts to catch up on foot, but ultimately finds himself too late.

Zeta learns of Eli Selig

Zee learns about Dr. Eli Selig.

With some distance between them and the NSA, Arroyo admits posits that he'll be arrested the moment he returns to Dyron Aerospace. Sympathetic, Zeta takes the blame and apologizes, but the doctor reminds Zee that he was doing what he thought was right, and holds just as much responsibility for the current situation. Before they part ways, Nelson tells Zee that the doctor he wants to track down is Eli Selig. Zeta holo projects his image of the scientists on Project Zeta, and Arroyo points the Doctor out. "Doctor Selig was the genius behind you," Arroyo tells Zet. "He programmed every line. Got his hands in every system. If anyone can convince people you're not a killer, it's him." Unfortunately, Selig has moved on to a project much more classified than Zeta was, but while this makes him more complicated to find, Arroyo assures Zee and Ro that Selig doesn't remain as hidden as his handlers would like.

The Doctor parts ways with Zee and Ro, and the two head towards the next Ground Wire so Zeta can begin his search on the net, and Ro can try another Root Beer/Cherry/Cola.

Ground Wire Gag[]

His Maker's Name Ground Wire Gag

His Maker's Name Ground Wire Gag

Ro: Another object from the past?
Zeta: This was a writing tool called a pen. They said it was mightier than the sword.
Ro: Uh-huh, except a sword's bigger, and sharper.
Zeta: I noticed that too.

Continuity[]

  • Zeta retrieved the data he studies in this episode opening during the events of The Accomplice.
  • Ro calls Zeta "Superman" after he saves a dog from an oncoming car. While the hero has been active in the DCAU for decades, he's shown to still be working with the Justice League Unlimited in "The Call" and "Epilogue".
  • Ro jokingly refers to Zeta as mom after he drops the hologram of a pregnant woman. While she was never introduced in the show, series creator Bob Goodman has confirmed that the subplot revolving around Ro's family (As seen in "Hicksburg", "Ro's Reunion", and "On the Wire") would have led to a larger focus on her mother.[1]

Home video releases[]

Production notes[]

INT

"INT. Arroyo's Lab - Day" background by Paul Rivoche.

Production inconsistencies[]

  • One ofhe Mag-way signs misspell "APPROACHING" as "APPRDACHING" and "MAG WAY" as "MAC MAY".
  • When the Spaceys signs are reflected in the Dyron Aerospace security guard's windows, one of them reads "SRAHS THT SRATS" as oppossed to "SHARE THE STARS".
  • The character design for Bodhi is re-colored multiple times as background filler in the scene of Ro calling Zeta.

Trivia[]

Cast[]

Actor Role
Zeta / Zee
Ground Wire patron (uncredited)
Diedrich Bader
Rosalie "Ro" Rowan Julie Nathanson
Agent Bennet Kurtwood Smith
Agent West
Ground Wire patron (uncredited)
Michael Rosenbaum
Agent Lee Lauren Tom
Dr. Nelson Arroyo Miguel Sandoval
Bodhi Ethan Embry
Vega
Girl (uncredited)
Pregnant lady (uncredited)
Tara Strong
Scruffy David Faustino
Captain Timothy Dang
Gate Guard Mark Jonathan Davis

Quotes[]

Guy 1: Whoa, Check out the Tokyo traffic cam. The Mag-Way looks like a parking lot.
Guy 2: Ooo-ooh, click London. My brother's got a car in London.

Ro: And I want a life supply of chocolate.
Zeta: You do? Because I can buy-(brings out his cred card)
Ro: Not all at once.

Ro: We'll hit the next Ground Wire. You can do some surfing, and I want to try another root beer-cherry cola.
Zeta: I have to say, the more I learn about you, the more I'm confused.
Ro: Get used to it. You're with a human now.

References[]

  1. The World's Finest talks to Series Creator, Robert Goodman
  2. "Laboratory" by Paul Rivoche - Rocket Fiction on Blog Spot (December 22, 2005)
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