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3: Trust

This issue takes place the morning after the events of the previous two issues. Nobody has changed clothes and after a night on the run people are generally more rumpled and less shaven than the night before.

Most narration in this issue is in the form of Don's "mission reports" (effectively a running monologue). These should be indicated on-panel by a distinctive type face (something boring but reliable, e.g. Times). These "report" captions will be marked as such in the script.

PAGE ONE. Four panels.

Panel 1

Close-up on the dying embers of a camp fire as a stick idly pokes it.

CAPTION (Don's report):

I'm too old for this.

Panel 2

Pull out to show DON sitting by the fire. It's early morning (we can tell by the long shadows) and his jacket is zipped up against the cold.

CAPTION (Don's report):

I swore I was out of the world-saving business.

CAPTION (Don's report):

It's a different kind of world, now. Maybe I'm not the right kind of person to save it any more.

Panel 3

Big panel for a wider view, and now we see the RV in the background, closed up tight. Blinds over the windows. We can probably see one of the windows is smashed (by the K-MAN last issue, remember).

CAPTION:

Crystal Lake Camp Ground.

CAPTION:

15 September 2014.

CAPTION (Don's report):

But sometimes something comes along that's too important to ignore.

CAPTION (Don's report):

Then you realize that there's still a job to do. And maybe you're the only one that can do it.

CAPTION (Don's report):

And when it comes down to it, I've always been good at getting the job done.

Panel 4

Same view as before. The side door of the RV has opened and JAMES is stepping out. Don doesn't turn his head. James, of course, wears the costume, mask, and has the SHIELD on his arm as always.

CAPTION (Don's report):

Even when I don't like some parts of it.

PAGE TWO. Five panels.

Panel 1

Don still watches the fire. James walks up behind him.

DON:

Early riser, James?

JAMES:

Yes sir. I exercise at oh-six-hundred every morning.

JAMES:

I was quiet, though. I know the others will still be sleeping.

SARA (off panel):

Jeez that water's cold!

Panel 2

SARA walks into the panel, and it's evident she's been swimming. Her hair is wet and she has a towel draped around her shoulders. (She's dressed, but she may be barefoot.) James is surprised by her appearance. Don isn't.

JAMES:

Sara? I thought you were asleep!

SARA:

Naah, I love a swim before breakfast.

Panel 3

Sara, disappearing into the vehicle.

SARA:

Speaking of which, did you pick up food in L.A., Don? 'Cause I'm starved!

VOICE (from inside vehicle):

Keep it down! It's the middle of the night!

Panel 4

Don stands and watches James, who is doing some kind of stretching exercise.

DON:

Did you sleep like that, James?

JAMES:

I need to guard my real identity. To protect the people close to me.

Panel 5

James doing some other kind of exercise while Don watches.

JAMES:

The costume is actually very comfortable. It's—

DON:

Spider silk. I know.

CAPTION (Don's report):

Might as well get this over with.

DON:

What I don't know is what makes you think you have any right to wear it.

PAGE THREE. Six panels.

Panel 1

James and Don are both standing now. Facing each other. James is probably a couple of inches taller.

DON:

The man who wore that costume was—

JAMES:

My father.

Panel 2

Close up of Don. Shocked.

DON:

What?

JAMES (off panel):

It belonged to my father. That's why I'm wearing it. But I don't want to go by his name—not yet.

Panel 3

A wider view again to show Don and James still face-to-face. The vehicle door has opened and Sara is there, watching. Mug of coffee in her hand.

CAPTION (Don's report):

His what? When did Jim ever find the time to have a kid?

DON:

Your—your predecessor was a good friend of mine. He saved my life—

JAMES:

I know. Malibu Beach, '88. And other times.

CAPTION (Don's report):

It doesn't prove anything. He was a public figure. Not difficult to research those events.

Panel 4

Close on James and Don.

JAMES:

And I know you saved his life, too, Don. In Nicaragua. And other times.

CAPTION (Don's report):

Ohh-kay. Nobody knows about Nicaragua.

Panel 5

Sara's POV as she watches the men. James hands his shield to Don, who examines it.

No dialogue. (Well, they appear to be talking, but we can't hear it from Sara's POV.)

Panel 6

Don hands the shield back as Sara walks towards them. (She's still too far away to hear their conversation.) Don is looking towards Sara

DON (softly):

Sara trusts you. And I trust her. So for now, I'm accepting your word on this.

CAPTION (Don's report):

But just give me one excuse to stop trusting you, mister.

PAGE FOUR. Six panels.

The first panel is the largest on the page, establishing the group. Issue title and credits can go here. The remaining panels are much smaller individual shots.

Panel 1

An overview of the gang sitting round, with coffee and the remains of breakfast. Each of them involved in their own activities (described in their individual panels, below). The sun is a bit higher in the sky now.

CAPTION (Don's report):

It's not every day you learn you may be on the run for the rest of your life. They've spent the night thinking it over. They all decided to stay with me, for now. But I don't imagine any of them slept well last night.

Panel 2

Close up on Sara, who is engrossed in balancing a coffee mug on her finger tip (or something equally ridiculous).

CAPTION (Don's report):

Except for Sara. She still thinks it's a game.

Panel 3

FRED, sitting a little apart from the others and drinking his coffee in silence.

CAPTION (Don's report):

Fred's the most strung out. The Krai killed two people while hunting for him. He knows it's not a game. I don't know how he's going to work out. He's already alienated most of the others. But he does it on purpose. He's not a team player. He doesn't want to be a team player.

Panel 4

CHI-YUN, who is talking to James—probably waving her arms about in a pantomime of the K-Man attack.

CAPTION (Don's report):

Chi-Yun is the one who is most bothered by leaving her family. She covers it up by acting the fool, but it's still obvious. She's younger than the others, I'm guessing. I wish she didn't have to grow up so fast.

Panel 5

JEROME, who is on his feet and going through some martial arts exercises, possibly using a big stick (tree branch or something) as if it's a sword.

CAPTION (Don's report):

Jerome puzzles me. We were supposed to find three superhumans, but Jerome doesn't fit the profile. Too old, for a start. Nobody over the age of 21—born pre-Event—should have powers. Or so they tell me. But Sara picked him out, and I trust her abilities.

Panel 6

Close up of James, laughing at something Chi-Yun says.

CAPTION (Don's report):

Most of the time.

PAGE FIVE. Six panels.

Panel 1

Don stands and the group looks at him.

DON:

Ok, people, we need to move out.

Panel 2

Don at the RV, opening the driver's door. The others are in the process of entering through the side door.

FRED:

Where are we heading?

DON:

Making a pit stop. You need clothes and supplies. I need gas—and I need to get that window fixed.

DON:

And after that—

Panel 3

Don in the driver's seat. He's putting on his sunglasses.

DON:

Let's see where the road takes us.

Panel 4

The RV heads off down the track.

VOICE 1 (from vehicle):

Do you have to do that in here?

VOICE 2 (from vehicle):

You got a problem with it?

VOICE 1 (from vehicle):

As a matter of fact—

Panel 5

POV over Don's shoulder, looking at the road ahead. But we can see his eyes reflected in the rear-view mirror, and it's obvious he's paying more attention to what's happening behind him.

DON:

James that's enough, Fred if you must smoke sit at the back and open a window. Chi-Yun what are you doing with my computer?

Panel 6

Exterior view of the RV turning onto the highway.

VOICE (from vehicle):

Are we there yet?

CAPTION (Don's report):

Way too old.

PAGE SIX. Six panels.

Panel 1

Close up on a folded newspaper lying on a desk (we don't see much more of the desk yet). We can read the name of the newspaper: "L.A. GLOBE" (some kind of decorative logo typeface—and maybe the "o" is a globe or something—and there needs to be suitable trademark symbols) and "City Edition". We can also see the following smaller print on the masthead: "Since 1916" and "A division of Brighter Media Group" and "www.la-globe.news", plus a price (pick the price of a current daily newspaper and double it). Beneath this we have the headline, in big bold type: "Multiple Slasher Deaths". The story itself should be below the fold and therefore not visible.

No dialogue.

Panel 2

Pull back to show more of the desk. It's a police detective's desk. Very untidy. In addition to the newspaper we see a computer, paper files, paper cups, paper clips, and so on. There are also two photographs (or more—but two that we can see on top of the pile). They both show dead bodies. Nothing too graphic (they are quite small in this view) but they should be in colour and include a lot of blood.

No dialogue.

Panel 3

Pull back again to show the detective sitting at the desk, and enough of the busy room to show that it is a police station. The detective is ALAN GRADY. In his late 40s, average to look at, slightly unkempt and unshaven. Plain clothes and with a gun in a shoulder holster (his jacket is over the back of the chair so we can see this).

GRADY (softly):

Stupid.

GRADY (softly):

Hacks.

Panel 4

View of Grady looking across the squad room to another detective who is holding a telephone and shouting in his direction.

DETECTIVE:

Grady! Looks like we have a winner!

GRADY:

The student?

Panel 5

The detective walks over to Grady, talking as he approaches.

DETECTIVE:

Yep. Fred Berkov. Knew both victims. Didn't return to his dorm last night.

GRADY:

All right. Get his details circulated. Let's find him and bring him in.

Panel 6

GRADY picks up the newspaper and studies it. His face is grim.

GRADY:

But let's sit on the autopsy report for a while. And nobody talks to the press until I say so.

GRADY (softly):

Something about this doesn't feel right...

PAGE SEVEN. Six panels.

The panels on this page should be arranged in side-by-side pairs. The idea is to show SPIRIT's and the HACKER's actions simultaneously, each mirroring what the other is doing. Thus Spirit's panels will form a strip down the left of the page, the Hacker's panels will form a strip down the right of the page.

As usual, Spirit's speech (and thoughts) will be in Chinese with a translation below each caption.

Panel 1

Spirit, sitting cross-legged on the floor, with a notebook computer nearby (we can't see the screen). She is in her Chinese monk-type clothes and wearing her hair long. There is tea next to her. She is reading a hardcover book. It looks like a pretty old edition, and the title is "De la Terre à la Lune. Trajet direct en 97 heures 20 minutes" (we can't read the author's name—her hand is probably covering it—it's a trivia quiz for readers!). The whole panel should imply order and tranquillity.

SFX (from computer):

BEEEEEEEP

Panel 2

The Hacker from previous issues. He's perched on the edge of a swivel chair, leaning forward, intent on something off-panel. He's holding a video-game controller and madly pressing buttons. He's surrounded by computer screens and keyboards. The place is a mess. Half-eaten pizza on the floor, magazines falling off the desk, etc. He wears a T-shirt with a "grey alien" head on it and the slogan "I WANT TO BE LAID" [sic].

SFX (from game machine):

BEEP! eeeee ZAP! ZAP! Be-Be-Be-Be ZZZZ ZZZZ eeeeeee

SFX (from computer):

BEEEEEEEP

Panel 3

Spirit has put her book down and is looking her computer screen.

SPIRIT (thought):

Chinese dialogue (translation below)

TRANSLATION:

A police manhunt? Can anything else possibly go wrong?

Panel 4

The Hacker has dropped his game controller and scooted over to a keyboard where he types furiously.

HACKER:

All right! Let L.A.'s finest do our job for us!

Panel 5

Close up on Spirit's computer screen, with her hands on the keyboard. We see an e-mail window open (it shouldn't look too much like any current operating system or e-mail program but it should be obvious what it is). It has the following information:

To: DON
Encryption: HIGH
Subject: Police Hunting for FRED BERKOV

She is in the process of typing the body of the message. We see:
Take suitable precautions and_

No dialogue.

Panel 6

The Hacker is leaning back on his chair and holding a phone to his ear.

HACKER:

Get me the general. I have news for him.

PAGE EIGHT. Three panels.

Panel 1

Exterior view of the RV driving down a road—not a main highway, a minor road, with no other traffic. They are heading towards the mountains—this may be obvious from the scenery. It is still morning. There is a painted sign with a big arrow and the text:

LUEY'S PLACE
FIRST LEFT 100m
GAS! SUPLIES! FOOD

[sic—yes, "supplies" IS spelled wrongly. And it is deliberately "m" for "metres".]

CAPTION (Don's report):

Luey's an old friend. I know I can count on him. But, oh my God, how am I going to explain James?

Panel 2

Establishing shot of LUEY'S GARAGE. It's a regular service station, with gas pumps and all the other stuff you would expect. There's also some kind of "high tech" "gas pump" that is actually a recharging station (remember, cars are electric!) These are routine in 2014, so I'm not going to explain what it is in the dialogue; the readers can figure it out for themselves.

Luey's place also has a shop, a few outbuildings, a large shed at the back (which will become important later). It is set in woods, shielded from the road by trees.

Oh yes, then there's the junk. Old rusting cars, engines, steel things, and god knows what else. Luey is a hoarder.

There's a big Harley (motorcycle) parked at the front. Its engine is in bits (we may not necessarily see this yet, but it might become obvious in later panels).

No dialogue.

Panel 3

The RV has pulled up outside the main building. Don has got out and is shaking hands with LUEY. (It's a manly old-buddies kind of a shake, not a polite greeting kind of shake.)

If there's one word to describe Luey, it's "over-the-hill hell's angel". Oh, wait, that's several words. Whatever. He's roughly Don's age (mid-50s). He has long black (now greying) hair tied back in a pony tail and a thick grey-black beard. He's more than a few pounds overweight. And he's wearing leather and denim. He's the kind of guy that old ladies would probably cross the street to avoid. But he's also wearing a huge smile—obviously pleased to see Don.

LUEY:

Son of a gun! You should have called ahead!

DON:

It's not a social call, Lu. I need gas, batteries, supplies, and a very fast repair job. And I need you to keep a big secret.

PAGE NINE. Five panels.

Panel 1

The gang are now coming out of the RV. Luey's jaw all but hits the floor.

DON:

Actually, I need you to keep several big secrets.

Panel 2

Luey and Don standing side-by-side. Luey stares, kind of glazed over. Don elbows him in the ribs as he speaks.

LUEY:

Mage—

LUEY:

ooof

DON:

Pipe down. No it's not. Explain later.

Panel 3

Everybody looks around, unsure what to do. Fred's attention is caught by Luey's bike. Sara walks towards Luey. Don elbows Luey in the ribs again when Luey is about to make another faux pas.

SARA:

Hey, Luey!

LUEY:

Hey, Sara! How's your M—

LUEY:

ooof

DON:

Sara, can you take the guys inside and pick out camping gear? I need to show Luey the damage to the van.

Panel 4

Sara leads the group into the shop, whispering to whichever one of them happens to be nearby.

SARA (softly):

That means "go away while we talk secrets".

Panel 5

Don and Luey examine the broken side window. They are obviously talking, but we don't see the dialogue. Instead we'll report it from Don's POV.

CAPTION (Don's report):

Luey's sharp enough to know I'm not telling him the full story. He's also enough of a pro to understand why. He doesn't press for details. But I know I can count on him when I need him.

PAGE TEN. Four panels.

Panel 1

Big panel showing the interior of Luey's store. It's almost as full of merchandise as his yard is full of junk. Tightly-packed shelves filled with every conceivable piece of outdoor equipment. Sara, Fred, Chi-Yun, James, and Jerome move around, looking at items.

CHI-YUN:

What does he mean, camping gear?

SARA:

You know. Warm clothes. Boots. Stuff.

FRED:

I am not spending the rest of my life hiding in the woods.

JAMES:

I'm sure that isn't what Don has in mind. But it's best to be prepared.

JEROME:

Well spoken, James. Though a little outdoor living is good for body and soul!

Panel 2

Close up on Sara and Chi-Yun. Sara watches Chi-Yun hold a brightly-coloured coat against herself.

CHI-YUN:

What do you think of this?

SARA:

It's you.

Panel 3

Chi-Yun puts the coat back on a hanger.

No dialogue.

Panel 4

While she's looking at the coat, Chi-Yun's clothing changes to look exactly like the coat. It should be obvious that her clothing is actually changing, rather than her changing her clothing. If you see what I mean. Nobody else appears to witness this (we can probably see Sara has turned her back to look at something else.

No dialogue.

PAGE ELEVEN. Five panels.

Panel 1

Interior view. Some (or all) of the group moving about, selecting items. An unfeasibly large pile of merchandise grows near the front counter.

LUEY (off panel, from doorway):

I dunno, when you asked me to armor the thing, you never specified claw proof.

Panel 2

Don and Luey enter the shop. Luey doing the jaw-dropping thing when he sees how much merchandise they have picked out.

DON:

Yeah but come on, I never expected to be fighting the Krai again.

Panel 3

Everybody in the store. Fred will be near the front counter, looking at the computer equipment there. The others looking at Luey.

JEROME:

You have fought these Krai also, Mister Luey?

LUEY:

Oh sure, thousands.

DON:

Lu...

LUEY:

Well hundreds then. The first invasion was back in '88 but we kept it out of the headlines—

Panel 4

View of Fred and the computer. We can always show the monitor from the back, so we don't need to show the graphics on it. Note that it should be a flat-panel monitor. Most screens will be in 2014, unless I say otherwise. Fred gestures at the screen as it beeps.

SFX:

bee-beep

FRED:

What's this?

Panel 5

Luey moves over to the computer, his face lighting up like a kid at Christmas.

LUEY:

Oh, you gotta see this. I have a traffic sensor out on the approach road. Picks up vehicles as they come in—

PAGE TWELVE. Six panels.

This page is a set of almost identical panels, showing everybody crowding round the computer screen. It only needs to be head shots, so they can be page-width but short panels, so we can fit several down the page. We don't see the computer screen—we can see it from behind and deduce what's happening based on their reactions. They should be standing in this order across the panels (to make the conversation in panel 4 work): Fred, Don, Luey, Sara, James, Chi-Yun, Jerome. (That's left-to-right across each panel from our POV.)

Panel 1

People looking at the screen, or at Luey as he speaks.

LUEY:

—Then it runs checks on them. Tells me who owns it, what their credit rating is, what needs fixing, where they are going, where they've been, what they had for breakfast—

JAMES:

Is that legal?

Panel 2

Everybody's head round the monitor. James looks at Luey. Luey looks at James, like "what planet are you from?".

LUEY:

I dunno. Is it?

Panel 3

Everybody looks back at the monitor

LUEY:

It doesn't matter if it's legal—it's customer service!

LUEY:

Look, you'll see how it works—

Panel 4

Still watching the screen, each reads something off it in turn.

FRED:

Twenty-oh-five Chrysler saloon—

DON:

All-electric conversion job—

LUEY:

See? Now I know they probably want a recharge—

SARA:

Reported stolen at 8:55 this morning—

JAMES:

—probably in the possession of escaped convicts—

CHI-YUN:

Armed and dangerous?

JEROME:

What is an "A P B"?

Panel 5

Everybody regards the screen, taking this in.

No dialogue.

Panel 6

Nobody has moved or changed expression since the last panel. (It's what we call a pregnant pause.)

LUEY:

Ohhhh-kaaaay

PAGE THIRTEEN. Five panels.

Panel 1

Everybody looks at Don. This panel might be a bit clumsy because the flow of speech doesn't follow the way people are standing. So it may work better as a rear-angle on the group, or two or more panels in some fancy layout.

JAMES:

Are we going to apprehend them?

DON:

Y—Nooo. I think I'm going to go hide in the shed

LUEY:

Screw that! No convict's gonna—

Panel 2

Close up of Don stomping on Luey's foot.

LUEY (off panel—from above):

—owwww—gonna go—hide—in the back shed. Yeah.

CAPTION (Don's report):

Ah, good to see Luey remembers the old team signals.

Panel 3

Don and Luey are moving towards the door. The others follow them, with various degrees of disbelief on their faces.

SARA:

You're going to hide?

DON:

Uh-huh. In the shed. Till they've gone. You should think about doing the same.

Panel 4

The gang stop inside the store and look at each other.

JAMES:

I have to stop the convicts.

JEROME:

Letting them rob this gentleman would be wrong.

SARA:

I'm with you!

CHI-YUN (softly):

oh dear—

FRED (softly):

This should be funny to watch, anyway.

Panel 5

Don and Luey from the front as they are leaving the store. Both have big grins. Don is making the "thumbs up" to Luey, unseen by the others.

No dialogue.

PAGE FOURTEEN. Five panels.

Panel 1

Don and Luey are about to enter the big shed—virtually a barn—behind the main building. Luey is looking over his shoulder.

LUEY:

You're sure they're gonna be ok?

DON:

Against a couple of crooks? Sure. Last night I saw them hold off six Krai.

CAPTION (Don's report):

I'm not as confident as I pretend. But they need this. Like it or not, they need to learn how to be a team. That won't happen while I'm nursemaiding them.

Panel 2

They are now in the shed. Luey closes the door while Don steps forward. The shed is full of tools, equipment, and machine parts. And in the centre, in the light from the high windows, is a thing we will call a SKY CYCLE. Imagine something like a big, solid motorbike but without wheels and with fins, big air intakes, and jet exhausts at the back. Kind of like a "wet bike" with more fins.

DON:

Wow.

LUEY:

Like her? She's almost ready to fly.

Panel 3

Don kneels by the Sky Cycle while Luey watches.

DON:

You solved the power-to-weight ratios?

LUEY:

More or less. It's still a bit unstable, but Huey sent me a new avionics suite that I'm gonna install—

CAPTION (Don's report):

The Event of twenty years ago didn't just affect Earth's superhumans. It also stopped a lot of advanced technology from working. Nobody has ever explained how. But ever since, Luey's been obsessed with rebuilding our old Sky Cycles.

Panel 4

Both men are standing and looking back at the shed door. Don is reaching for something inside his jacket.

LUEY:

Do you hear a car?

DON:

Yeah. We only go out if we absolutely have to—

Panel 5

Close up on Don as he draws his gun from under his jacket. Oh, and this is a GUN! It's a huge calibre semi-automatic pistol. This is a really BIG GUN. The kind of gun that Schwarzenegger would be proud of.

DON:

But nothing happens to those kids, ok?

PAGE FIFTEEN. Six panels.

Panel 1

The interior of a car. There are three people in it, two men and a woman. For the purposes of this script, we'll call them ANNE, GARY, and GLENN, though their names are unimportant. Gary is driving.

GARY:

There's a gas station ahead. We'll change cars if we can. Change batteries if we can't.

Panel 2

Close up on the pair in the back. Glenn has a revolver.

GLENN:

May as well grab some spending money while we're there.

ANNE:

Yeah. But don't leave witnesses.

GLENN:

You called it. Heh heh heh heh.

Panel 3

Aerial view of the stolen car turning into Luey's yard. No sign of anybody around.

GARY (from inside car):

Jeez, what a dump!

GLENN:

Don't matter. It's isolated. We'll hit it and move on.

Panel 4

POV from inside the shop. Glenn is walking towards us, his hand under his jacket (obviously holding his gun). Anne and Gary are standing by the car.

No dialogue.

Panel 5

Glenn inside the shop, standing by the counter. It still appears deserted. He looks around and slaps his hand on the counter. (Other hand still inside his coat.)

SFX:

SMACK

GLENN (shouting):

Yo! Anyone home?

Panel 6

James stands up from behind the counter, making Glenn visibly jump.

JAMES:

May I help you?

GLENN (yelling):

Aaaaa—what the hell—?

PAGE SIXTEEN. Five panels.

Panel 1

Obviously spooked by this guy in the Halloween costume, Glenn raises his gun and shoots James in the chest! But of course James is wearing a bullet-proof costume and barely flinches.

SFX (gun):

BLAM!

SFX (ricochet from armour):

ping!

JAMES:

<uhh>

Panel 2

Outside, at the car. Gary and Anne start at the sound. Anne is pointing somewhere over to their right (over the car). We can't see what at. Anne should be standing a little behind Gary.

GARY (yelling):

Glenn?

ANNE (yelling):

Look out!

Panel 3

POV following Anne's pointing arm. We (and they) see Jerome, who has been hiding behind something, on the far side of the car and sprinting towards them.

No dialogue

Panel 4

Inside the shop. Fred is looking through the blinds and we see his POV of the scene. Gary has drawn a pistol from his pocket and is raising it towards Jerome, who is too far away to reach him in time. Jerome would appear to be a gonner. Note that Fred is hidden from the action at the front counter, by shelving or something.

No dialogue

Panel 5

Close up on Fred's eyes. Yes, it's the old psychic powers at work. (We can show his face through the blinds, to illustrate that it's Fred for those readers who don't know how his power works.) "Reflecting" in his eyes we see Gary with raised gun and Anne standing a couple of feet behind him.

FRED (thought):

There's a cop behind you.

PAGE SEVENTEEN. Four panels.

Panel 1

Outside, Gary turns around and points the gun at Anne.

ANNE:

Gary—what the hell—

Panel 2

We now see from Gary's POV—and he's not pointing the gun at Anne, he's pointing it at a COP! In fact, he's firing it at the "cop". The point to get across here is that Gary's perception of reality has been altered. The shot hits the "cop" in the shoulder.

SFX:

BLAM!

ANNE/COP (yelling):

Aaaaaaaaaaa!

Panel 3

Big dramatic action panel. No longer looking from Gary's POV, we see Anne has been shot and has fallen to the ground clutching her shoulder. Blood stains her shirt.

Meanwhile, Jerome has leaped and either vaulted or slid across the top of the car, feet first. We see him at the end of his leap, as his feet connect with Gary. One foot kicks the gun clear out of his hand, the other lands solidly on the side of his head. Very "Jackie Chan". Gary is going down.

SFX (kick):

CRACK!

GARY:

Uhnnnn

ANNE (screaming):

You shot me! Aaaaawwwwww!

Panel 4

Close up on FRED inside the building, watching the proceedings.

FRED (softly):

Whoops.

PAGE EIGHTEEN. Six panels.

Panel 1

Inside the shop. James is kneeling on Glenn's chest. Glenn is disarmed and not putting up much of a fight. James is clutching his own chest. Sara is standing nearby.

SARA:

I thought you said it was bullet proof?

JAMES:

Still stings if one catches it wrong. Apparently. Go and help Jerome.

Panel 2

Outside. Jerome is kneeling next to Anne, who is still holding her shoulder and bleeding. In the background we can see Gary's unconscious form.

JEROME:

Hold still, madam. I will get you a doctor.

Panel 3

Close up of Jerome kneeling (though in the background we should see Sara and Chi-Yun running up). Jerome has his eyes closed.

No dialogue.

Panel 4

Jerome has his eyes open again. Except he's no longer Jerome—he's DR. PAUL SMITHSTEEN. There's no visible change (it's just a different personality), but from now on we'll call him PAUL in the script.

Sara and Chi-Yun are now standing behind him. Paul is speaking over his shoulder to them.

PAUL:

I need to stop this bleeding. Find me a first aid kit.

SARA:

Jerome?

Panel 5

Same set up. Paul is now leaning forward and applying pressure to the wound, or whatever doctors do in this situation.

PAUL:

Jerome's gone. Get me a first aid kit.

CHI-YUN:

Jerome, what's with your accent?

Panel 6

Sara and Chi-Yun look at each other, mystified. Paul looks up at them, angry.

PAUL (yelling):

Get me a frikkin' first aid kit!

CHI-YUN:

He's much more polite when he does the English accent.

SARA:

Yeah. Uptight or what?

PAGE NINETEEN. Five panels.

Panel 1

It's obviously later and the gang is getting ready to leave. Don is gripping Luey's hand. In the background, Sara, James, Paul, Chi-Yun, and Fred stand near the RV. They have all changed clothes and are now wearing more sensible outdoor/travelling clothes. Except James, of course, who looks the same as always.

CAPTION (Don's report):

Well, I guess that could have gone better.

DON:

No mention of us when the cops get here, right?

LUEY:

Don't sweat it. I'll come up with a story.

Panel 2

Don turns and walks back towards the waiting group. Luey calls after him.

LUEY:

Take care of yourself!

DON:

You know me...

LUEY (softly):

Yeah. That's the problem.

CAPTION (Don's report):

What I still can't figure is how the woman got herself shot. But better her than them, I guess.

Panel 3

Don opens the driver's door and is just about to climb in. Sara is walking round to the passenger door. Fred opens the side door, ready to get in.

DON:

Fred, you want to ride up front?

SARA:

Hey!

Panel 4

Don sitting in the cab, starting up the engine. Fred is climbing up next to him.

DON:

Everybody in?

Panel 5

Exterior shot of the RV pulling away from the gas station. Luey watching them go.

VOICE (from inside vehicle):

I didn't go to the bathroom.

VOICE (from inside vehicle):

Are we there yet?

PAGE TWENTY. Six panels.

Panel 1

The back of the RV. Large panel to set the scene, as this is our first good look at it. It's compact but has a table, seats, a kitchen section, doors into tiny bedrooms—all the stuff you would need for an extended road trip. It also has some high-tech gadgetry around, such as a computer workstation.

James, Paul, Chi-Yun, and Sara sit around (in that rough order, from our POV)

JAMES:

So let me get this straight—Jerome is—

PAUL:

<<sigh>> Jerome Sanders was my great-great-many-times-great grandfather—

CHI-YUN:

Cool!

SARA:

So you are—

Panel 2

POV over PAUL's shoulder, showing the others looking disbelieving

PAUL:

Doctor Paul Smithsteen—

SARA:

Oh! That was the name on the shrink's office I found you in!

PAUL:

Yes, that's because it's my office!

PAUL:

Duh.

Panel 3

Still on the group in the back.

JAMES:

I'm still missing something—

PAUL (softly):

Obviously.

PAUL:

It's quite simple. Several months ago I learned how to channel my ancestors through self-hypnosis—

CHI-YUN:

No way? Cool! Do one now!

Panel 4

The cab of the RV. Don is driving. Fred is next to him. We can probably see the others in the back, but they are still talking and aren't paying attention to Don and Fred. Fred looks at Don, who watches the road.

FRED:

You realise that Jerome's a dangerous schizophrenic?

DON:

Does ancestor channeling sound any more ridiculous than alien werewolves?

Panel 5

Close up on Paul in the back.

PAUL:

It's not a party trick! I do it when I have to—such as when Jerome realised the woman needed a doctor.

Panel 6

Close-up on Sara.

SARA:

A doctor? You're a shrink!

PAGE TWENTY-ONE. Seven panels.

Panel 1

Close up on Paul.

PAUL:

I'm a qualified M.D., but yes, if it's any of your business, I make my money from psychiatry.

Panel 2

Close-up of Chi-Yun.

CHI-YUN:

You said ancestors—do another one!

PAUL (off-panel):

Believe me, some of them you don't want to meet. And for the last time—

Panel 3

Close-up on Paul.

PAUL (yelling):

It's not a party trick!

Panel 4

View of Don and Fred in the cab, again. Both looking ahead at the road.

DON (softly):

Of course, it's always possible he's a lunatic.

Panel 5

Fred looks at Don, surprised. Don watches the road, dead-pan.

No dialogue.

Panel 6

Same view. Fred laughing. Don smiling. In the background we can probably see the others in animated conversation (arms waving about, etc).

FRED:

Hahahahahaha

Panel 7

Still showing Don and Fred in the cabin. Don looks towards Fred.

DON:

Fred... two people died when the Krai were hunting for you.

FRED (softly):

I know.

PAGE TWENTY-TWO. Eight panels.

Panel 1

Close-up on Don.

DON:

But you're a material witness and possibly a suspect. And now you've disappeared.

DON:

We have enough problems, without a police manhunt.

Panel 2

Close up on FRED as he takes a packet of cigarettes out of his jacket pocket.

FRED:

I guess. But what can I do? I can't go back to L.A.

Panel 3

Close up on Fred as he takes a cigarette lighter out of his pocket.

DON (off-panel):

Please don't do that.

Panel 4

View of both men. Fred holds a cigarette and the lighter, but doesn't light up. He looks at Don while Don watches the road.

DON:

I have contacts on the LAPD. I'll get it straightened out. Will you trust me?

Panel 5

Same view, as Fred puts his cigarette and lighter away.

FRED (softly):

I guess.

CAPTION (Don's report):

And I feel like we've passed a milestone. Walls are still up, but people are talking and that's the first step in building a team.

Panel 6

Exterior view of the RV heading down the highway.

CAPTION (Don's report):

Today wasn't a text-book operation. But they showed willing to do the right thing. It's the first step to becoming heroes.

Panel 7

The RV in the middle distance.

CAPTION (Don's report):

Because, despite what I told them last night, I need heroes. The Earth is going to need them. Possibly very soon. I don't know if they will be ready in time.

Panel 8

The RV dwindling into the distance.

CAPTION (Don's report):

But right now, I have a good feeling about it.

Next issue: In the Woods

See also: Los Angeles Globe news headlines

Copyright © 2002, 2006, 2008, 2016 by David Meadows. All rights reserved.