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8: Family

This story opens a couple of days after the events of the previous issue. Everybody has had chance to change clothes but all of them remain "in character" in their dress.

The PAUL/JEROME/HARRY character begins the scenario as HARRY and his captions will be labelled as such. When he changes personality, his captions will be labelled to reflect this. Note that JEROME's captions use British spelling; everybody else uses American spelling. (Hopefully.)

Most narration in this issue is in the form of SYLVIA ROTH's dictated journal, marked as such in the text. These should be lettered on the page in some common but distinctive computer font. When we see her on-panel, her journal dictation will be shown as regular speech.

PAGE ONE. Six panels.

Panel 1

The RV is now parked outside a sizeable house. It's a solid-looking wooden construction with three storeys (including attic rooms in the roof). No lights are showing. DON, JAMES, SARA, CHI-YUN, HARRY, and FRED are walking towards the front porch of the house. FRED's new motorcycle may be visible parked near the RV but it's not essential if the panel is too cluttered (its presence can be inferred as the issue unfolds). The house is surrounded by dense woods (on three sides -- the fourth side looks on to the ocean but we can't see that at the moment) and reached by a narrow private road. The woods should be of a type suitable for the Pacific North West.

CAPTION (SYLVIA's JOURNAL):

Computer, begin recording.

Panel 2

DON and SARA by the front door. DON is looking at SARA, who has her hands raised in an "I don't know" gesture.

CAPTION (SYLVIA's JOURNAL):

Personal journal entry, Sylvia Roth.

Panel 3

SARA lifts a decorative urn on the porch, revealing a door key.

CAPTION (SYLVIA's JOURNAL):

September nineteen. Twenty-fourteen.

Panel 4

DON has opened the front door.

SFX:

EEP...EEP...EEP...EEP

CAPTION (SYLVIA's JOURNAL):

Don just reached the beach house.

Panel 5

SARA has pushed past DON and is racing across an unlit hall.

SFX:

EEP...EEP...EEP...EEP

CAPTION (SYLVIA's JOURNAL):

Five days on the run, and he hasn't managed to kill any of them yet.

Panel 6

Close-up of SARA's hand as it pushes buttons on the keypad of a sophisticated alarm panel.

SFX:

EEP...EEP...EEP...EEP

SFX (buttons):

bip bip bip bip bloop

SFX:

EEP...EE*

CAPTION (SYLVIA's JOURNAL):

That's probably due to my daughter's luck, not his good planning.

PAGE TWO. One panel.

Panel 1

Big splash page of the whole team in the mansion's living room. And it's a VERY large and luxurious room. Wood panelling, a huge picture window overlooking the ocean, doors into several other rooms, thick-pile rugs on the floor, a big open fireplace (not lit), big leather couches placed around a low central table, a state-of-the-art home entertainment system with a big wall screen, and so on. CHI-YUN has her nose and hands pressed against the window. FRED kneels by the entertainment console, examining a shelf of CD cases. (For future reference: they're not generally using CDs in 2014. These are old disks). HARRY is prowling around, inspecting things. DON has collapsed on to a couch. SARA is perched on the arm next to him. JAMES stands near the door, surveying the scene.

CAPTION (SYLVIA's JOURNAL):

I hope they enjoy the rest before he throws them into the next death-or-glory mission.

CHI-YUN:

Cool!

JAMES:

This is your Mother's house?

SARA:

Yeah. Don't worry, she's not here.

HARRY:

She must be loaded.

DON:

We'll be safe here. At least for a few days while we rest and plan.

FRED (softly):

Nineties' crap...

PAGE THREE. Five panels.

Panel 1

Close up on DON and SARA. DON's eyes are closed.

DON:

Somebody rustle up some food. Sara, show them how to find their way around.

SARA:

What will you be doing?

DON:

Hey, I just drove for ten hours!

Panel 2

SARA is leading the others out of the room. She's frowning at CHI-YUN's question.

CHI-YUN:

Has your Mom always been rich?

SARA:

I don't want to talk about it.

Panel 3

The kitchen, which is huge and full of expensive appliances. The group is milling around chaotically, preparing a haphazard mix of food. We don't have to show everybody in the next few panels, just enough to make the exposition work.

FRED:

He expects us to stay here in the middle of nowhere?

CHI-YUN:

It's a nice house!

JAMES:

If you want civilization, Fred, Seattle's only twenty miles away.

Panel 4

More of the kitchen activity.

HARRY:

Don picked a smart place. Like it or not, we're being hunted and we need to lie low.

CHI-YUN (thought):

Krai

Panel 5

CHI-YUN has shape-changed into a K-MAN, complete with long overcoat. She's looming over HARRY in a menacing fashion.

CHI-YUN:

Ooooo the wolf men are gonna get us!

HARRY:

Cut it out, Chi-Yun.

CAPTION (SYLVIA's JOURNAL):

I don't know what brought the Krai back to Earth, but I intend to find out.

PAGE FOUR. Five panels.

Panel 1

Now looking at a computer screen. We can see a mess of overlapping windows (possibly including SYLVIA's journal entry typing itself out). But the main window shows a KRAI. It's identical to the form CHI-YUN just adopted, but instead of the long overcoat this one wears futuristic-looking silvery coveralls. It's also carrying a large, high-tech blaster weapon.

CAPTION (SYLVIA's JOURNAL):

When they invaded last time, there were teams of superheroes lining up to kick alien butt.

Panel 2

A reverse angle shows that it's SYLVIA's office (last seen in ISSUE 1 PAGE 16. Sylvia, dressed casually, is sitting at her desk while dictating her journal. On the desk in front of her is the flat-panel computer screen we were just looking at (it appears to have folded up out of the otherwise featureless desk). SYLVIA is holding a copy of the blaster we saw the KRAI holding on the computer screen.

SYLVIA:

It all proved to be very profitable.

Panel 3

SYLVIA tosses the blaster carelessly on to the desk.

SYLVIA:

A pity that all alien technology stopped working after The Event.

Panel 4

Sylvia rests her chin on her hands and has a pensive look. Still recording her journal entry.

SYLVIA:

That was twenty years ago. Now they're back, and Don thinks they're hunting down super-powered humans.

SYLVIA:

That shouldn't bother me, of course — no powers any more. That's the other thing that we lost in The Event.

Panel 5

Back to the computer screen, but the picture of the KRAI has been replaced by a man dressed in the same costume as JAMES always wears -- and carrying an identical pentagram-emblazoned shield. We probably can't tell that it's not JAMES (that's the whole point of masks!), but hopefully it will become obvious with subsequent dialogue. Standing next to him is a young woman with long auburn hair and green eyes. It's the face we saw in ISSUE 6 PAGE 17, in FRANKLIN's "flashback" panel. She's attractive, athletic, and dressed in a white mini-dress with a green cape fastened round her shoulders. Although she doesn't wear a superhero-type mask, it's obviously not casual dress any more than JAMES' green-and-black costume is.

CAPTION (SYLVIA's JOURNAL):

And we all know who's to blame for that.

PAGE FIVE. Eight panels.

This page should be arranged so that panel 2 is the biggest panel. The others are close-up views and can be smaller, perhaps arranged around the main panel (if that allows the dialogue to flow logically).

Panel 1

Close-up on JAMES' cowled face.

JAMES:

Major Democracy.

Panel 2

Wider angle showing the whole gang -- DON, SARA, FRED, HARRY, CHI-YUN -- looking at JAMES. They're sitting in the living room, with the remains of dinner still around.

JAMES:

That was my father's name when he wore this costume twenty years ago. Major Democracy.

Panel 3

HARRY's reaction. Disbelieving.

HARRY:

Since when did the army use that uniform?

Panel 4

DON's reaction. Amused.

DON:

Not a rank, Harry. A title.

Panel 5

FRED's reaction. Rolling his eyes.

FRED (softly):

Self-important, much?

Panel 6

CHI-YUN's reaction. Confused.

CHI-YUN:

Not Mage then?

Panel 7

SARA's reaction. And her face is completely impassive.

No dialogue.

Panel 8

Close-up on JAMES again. He's reaching up to his cowel and pulling it back to show his face. It's the face we saw in ISSUE 2 PAGE 1, but this is the first time the other characters have seen it.

JAMES:

And I think there isn't any reason for me to hide my face all the time. Not from you people.

PAGE SIX. Five panels.

Panel 1

Another view of the whole group. The attention is still on JAMES. SARA is walking from the room but nobody pays attention to her.

JAMES:

He was a hero. He saved the world many—

CHI-YUN:

I never heard of him.

DON:

It was twenty years ago, Chi-Yun.

Panel 2

We see DON's eyes are on SARA's back as he speaks. She's walking out through the door. Nobody else is watching her.

CHI-YUN:

But even so — there should be stories.

DON:

Even with a hundred superheroes in the world, not one in a million people ever met one in person. What they saw on the news — well —

Panel 3

Close-up on FRED.

FRED:

Nobody believes what they see on TV. They're used to movies that look more real than real life. Everything can be faked.

FRED:

78 percent of Americans don't believe we landed on the Moon. People believe more in their soaps—

Panel 4

Wider shot showing everybody staring at FRED.

FRED:

What? So I major in media studies, ok?

Panel 5

Identical panel: everybody still staring at FRED.

CHI-YUN:

Men landed on the Moon?

PAGE SEVEN. Seven panels.

Panel 1

Outside, SARA is sitting alone on some rocks by the beach, staring over the ocean. The lights of the house are behind her.

CAPTION (SYLVIA's JOURNAL):

Sara and the son of Major Democracy.

Panel 2

DON is standing behind SARA. She speaks without looking at him.

CAPTION (SYLVIA's JOURNAL):

I find the irony quite delightful.

SARA:

They hated each other, you know.

Panel 3

DON sits next to SARA.

DON:

I don't think the Major ever hated anybody. And your Mom — well.

Panel 4

They sit side-by-side, looking at each other.

SARA:

How do you always know what I'm thinking about?

Panel 5

SARA looks over the ocean again while she's speaking. DON studies her face.

SARA:

James is lucky.

DON:

We only have his word that—

SARA:

She would never tell me who my father was. Sometimes I thought—

Panel 6

SARA is walking back towards the house. DON remains sitting and watching her walk away.

DON:

Sara!

Panel 7

DON now sits alone, watching the ocean.

DON (softly):

Don't even go there, Sara.

PAGE EIGHT. Five panels.

Panel 1

A dark, open, low-ceilinged place. It's an underground car park, though there are no cars there at the moment. A few overhead lights provide pools of illumination, but the lone woman pushing her baby buggy is mostly in darkness. The woman is EILEEN WEBSTER. She's wearing a heavy overcoat.

CAPTION:

Vancouver, Canada.

EILEEN:

Nearly home, Gemma.

Panel 2

Close up of baby GEMMA WEBSTER. Um... it's a baby. They all look the same. This one's a girl, so the covers will have to be be pink. (Oh, I'll get in trouble for that!)

EILEEN (off-panel):

Soon back in the warm—

GEMMA:

Goo!

Panel 3

EILEEN looks back over her shoulder, frightened. We see her face clearly for the first time. She's about 30, short brown hair, very ordinary.

EILEEN:

What was that—

Panel 4

EILEEN and the buggy are bathed in a blinding white light. We see EILEEN shielding her eyes, panic on her face.

EILEEN:

Wh—aaaaaaaaa!

Panel 5

Now looking from EILEEN's POV, looking into the blinding light. We can see three figures but only in silhouette as the light source is behind them. And they don't seem to be quite human. They have the right number of limbs, but the proportions are all wrong. They seem large and brutish, with improbably-wide shoulders. Their jaws protrude out from blocky heads and there could be a suggestion of tusks in the profile. It should look feasible that they are men in costumes but because of the lack of detail the reader (and presumably EILEEN) can't be certain whether they are human or not. One of the figures is bending down towards the baby buggy.

No dialogue.

PAGE NINE. Five panels.

Panel 1

Back in the mansion's main room, only JAMES, CHI-YUN, and HARRY remain. CHI-YUN and JAMES are talking, HARRY sits apart and appears asleep (his hat pushed over his eyes). JAMES is typing on a computer keyboard (it will be a wireless keyboard which they can pass around). JAMES will have his cowl pulled down, revealing his face, throughout this scene.

CHI-YUN:

Tell us about Mage — your father.

JAMES:

There are plenty of files, if you know where to look. Here—

SFX (keyboard):

tak tak tak-ta-tak tak

Panel 2

JAMES stands and tosses the keyboard to CHI-YUN.

JAMES:

That's just a public news archive.

Panel 3

CHI-YUN now has the keyboard and is looking at the wall screen that's part of the entertainment system. It shows an image of MAJOR DEMOCRACY in full costume and carrying the SHIELD (i.e. looking identical to JAMES). The text next to the image should be greeked but CHI-YUN is going to read out the interesting bits anyway.

CHI-YUN:

Major Democracy, leader of Strikeforce — what's that? — from 1987 until his disappearance in 1994.

CHI-YUN (softly):

United Nations — blah blah — history boring —

Panel 4

JAMES has reached the door of the room when HARRY speaks to him. We'll see HARRY from JAMES's POV. He's looking at JAMES. (Obviously he's pushed his hat up.)

HARRY:

James.

JAMES:

Hmmm?

CHI-YUN (softly, off-panel):

Blah blah — Fall of the Soviet Union — can't — keep — awake —

Panel 5

JAMES stands by the door, looking at HARRY.

HARRY:

You wear his uniform. Why don't you use his name?

CHI-YUN (softly, off-panel):

Unlike his team-mates, the Major — oh this is a good bit — had no apparent superhuman abilities —

PAGE TEN. Six panels.

Panel 1

JAMES just looks at HARRY.

CHI-YUN (softly, off-panel):

Held himself to the highest standards — blah blah — honor and integrity —

Panel 2

JAMES turns and walks out of the room.

No dialogue.

Panel 3

Close up on HARRY, who has slumped back into his chair and pushed his hat over his eyes again.

HARRY:

Thought so.

CHI-YUN (softly, off-panel):

The shield — that's in capitals — was said to be —

CHI-YUN (off-panel):

What?

Panel 4

JAMES, at the foot of the stairs, is frowning.

CHI-YUN (off-panel):

Mystical binding object for a—

CHI-YUN (off-panel):

Demonic—what?

Panel 5

And now, as JAMES mounts the stairs, he allows himself a small smile.

CHI-YUN (off-panel):

—power to destroy the—what?

CHI-YUN (off-panel):

Destroy the Universe?

CHI-YUN (shouting, off-panel):

James!!!!

Panel 6

Outside, DON is still sitting alone where we last saw him. The house is visible behind him.

CHI-YUN (shouting, inside house):

Do-o-on!!!!

DON (softly):

I know, Chi-Yun.

PAGE ELEVEN. Eight panels.

Panel 1

Back in SYLVIA's office. She's standing, looking out of her window. We can't see exactly what's outside, other than bright neon street lighting illuminating her face. We can't see the office behind her in this view.

SYLVIA:

The boy doesn't interest me at all, of course.

CHARLES (off-panel):

Of course not, madam.

Panel 2

SYLVIA has turned and we see, with her, a wider view of the room. The door is open and CHARLES is standing there. CHARLES is... for want of a better term, let's call him her butler. Therefore, he's dressed formally and appropriately for his position. CHARLES is middle-aged, showing some grey in his immaculate, slicked-back hair. He's carrying a silver tray on which sits a mug of some steaming beverage. His face is bland and business-like.

SYLVIA:

Ah, Charles.

SYLVIA:

Computer, pause recording.

Panel 3

CHARLES is placing the mug on the desk.

CHARLES:

However, I have taken the liberty of putting men on this new Major Democracy's background.

Panel 4

CHARLES is near the door again, pausing before leaving.

CHARLES:

Will there be anything else, madam?

SYLVIA:

No, that will be all. Goodnight, Charles.

CHARLES:

Goodnight, madam.

Panel 5

Close-up on SYLVIA, once more looking through the window.

SYLVIA:

Computer, resume recording.

SYLVIA:

But I'm interested in discovering if he's carrying the shield. Capitalize that.

Panel 6

DON is still sitting alone in the dark by the ocean. His face is brooding.

CAPTION (SYLVIA's JOURNAL):

Is he carrying the most dangerous artefact in the Universe?

Panel 7

JAMES is sitting alone in a bedroom (large and luxuriously furnished, in keeping with the rest of the mansion), holding the SHIELD in two hands, looking at it speculatively.

CAPTION (SYLVIA's JOURNAL):

And does he know?

Panel 8

SARA's bedroom. She's wearing night clothes (an oversized t-shirt) and the lights are off, but she's sitting on top of the bed rather than lying in it. She's illuminated by the moonlight from the window. Her knees are pulled up with her arms wrapped round them.

CAPTION (SYLVIA's JOURNAL):

And does my daughter understand what it all means?

PAGE TWELVE. Seven panels.

Panel 1

JAMES, costumed and masked again, stands on the mansion's terrace, looking over the ocean. It's daylight, but very early (long shadows, remembering the Sun is rising behind the house).

JAMES:

Oh-six-hundred. First up again!

CAPTION (SYLVIA's JOURNAL):

What brought them together? Being in the right place at the right time?

Panel 2

JAMES begins a simple stretching exercise.

CAPTION (SYLVIA's JOURNAL):

One day she'll understand that there's no such thing as coincidence.

SARA (off-panel):

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Panel 3

JAMES stands and watches as SARA runs past him and into the house. She's coming from the direction of the sea. She's wearing her swimming costume (last seen in ISSUE 3 PAGE 2). Her hair is wet and she's dripping water.

SARA:

Cold cold cold cold cold cold cold cold!

CAPTION (SYLVIA's JOURNAL):

And that her power works with a wider scope than she can currently imagine.

Panel 4

JAMES looks at the empty doorway where SARA entered.

JAMES (softly):

Darn.

Panel 5

DON is coming out of the house, through the door which SARA just entered. He's holding coffee.

DON:

Morning exercises, James?

JAMES:

How does she do that?

DON:

Beats me. Insomnia?

Panel 6

JAMES is now doing one-handed push-ups (his left arm -- the one with the shield strapped to it -- is held out parallel to the ground). DON watches, bemused.

DON:

I'm heading up to the city later if you want a ride.

JAMES:

I'll <huff> pass. I've been <huff> neglecting my <huff> training.

Panel 7

DON heads back into the house.

DON (softly):

Sure. Knock yourself out.

PAGE THIRTEEN. Five panels.

Panel 1

A big panel with a long shot of DON, SARA, and CHI-YUN walking along a crowded city street.

CAPTION:

Seattle.

DON:

I've got to pick up a package from my — associates. Then we can do whatever you want.

SARA:

Can we go shopping?

DON:

Sara How much stuff can you need?

CHI-YUN:

Oh! Can we go up the Space Needle?

Panel 2

Another man on the same street. He's wearing a business suit and expensive overcoat. And he has a phone pressed to his ear. We'll call him MIKEY.

MIKEY:

It's Mikey. Get me Jacques.

MIKEY:

Interrupt him. He'll want to know this.

Panel 3

Use a reverse angle to show him watching the backs of our three heroes moving down the street.

DON:

Yeah, why not? We should make the most of a few days' safety.

MIKEY:

Tell him Roth's girl is in town.

Panel 4

Same view, but a big truck is driving across an intersection and blocking MIKEY's view of the other three.

MIKEY:

Yeah, I'm following her right now.

Panel 5

The truck has moved on and MIKEY is once again looking down the crowded street -- but his three targets are nowhere in sight.

MIKEY (softly):

Crap.

PAGE FOURTEEN. Six panels.

Panel 1

Back at the house, FRED is coming down the stairs. He's carrying his jacket over his shoulder and his crash helmet in one hand.

CAPTION (SYLVIA's JOURNAL):

The rest of Don's superhero club are unimportant.

FRED (shouting):

Don?

JAMES (off-panel):

He's out for the day, Fred. Forty-two.

Panel 2

JAMES is in the doorway to the lounge, gripping the top of the door frame, and using it to perform pull-ups. FRED pauses to regard him.

CAPTION (SYLVIA's JOURNAL):

Fred Berkov. Student. Some previous trouble with the police.

JAMES:

Some of us have been up for five hours. Forty-three.

Panel 3

FRED continues down the hall to the front door, putting his jacket on as he walks.

FRED (softly):

I'm supposed to be impressed?

CAPTION (SYLVIA's JOURNAL):

Unlikely to stick with the group for long.

JAMES (off-panel):

Forty-four.

Panel 4

In the lounge, HARRY is standing and looking out of the window. We should be able to see JAMES behind him, still exercising.

HARRY:

There's a boat sitting out there in the bay.

JAMES:

No law against fishing, Harry. Forty-five.

Panel 5

We now see through the window from HARRY's POV. There is a small boat out in the bay, far enough away to be an indistinguishable blob.

JAMES (off-panel):

Forty-six.

Panel 6

An identical view, but now we can see a bright flash from the boat, such as you might see from sun reflecting off glass. It's late morning, but the sun will still be somewhere behind the house so the reflection does make sense.

HARRY:

Fishing. Right.

JAMES (off-panel):

Forty-seven.

PAGE FIFTEEN. Seven panels.

Panel 1

In an apparently empty sky, we see a seagull gliding serenely along

CHI-YUN (off-panel, softly):

I can do that.

Panel 2

CHI-YUN is in a restaurant at the top of Seattle's Space Needle, looking out through the glass. DON and SARA are sitting at a nearby table, with food in front of them. Other diners are in the background.

CAPTION (SYLVIA's JOURNAL):

Chi-Yun. May be very powerful, physically—

CHI-YUN:

What do you think it's like in space?

Panel 3

DON is using a pocket knife to cut into a heavily taped-up package (about the dimensions of a shoebox). We might be able to see shipping labels on it (air freight), but nothing specific.

DON:

It's beautiful. I didn't want to leave.

Panel 4

CHI-YUN sits down at the table. DON is taking a cell phone out of the package.

CHI-YUN:

You've been in space?

DON:

I've logged 500 hours. Shuttles, VentureStars — some classified stuff, too.

Panel 5

DON hands CHI-YUN the phone.

DON:

Here. It's the same as mine and Sara's. State-of-the-art, custom security features—

CHI-YUN:

A phone? Don't we get secret agent walkie-talkies?

CAPTION (SYLVIA's JOURNAL):

—but, realistically, not a major player.

Panel 6

DON is peering in to the box, looking at the other contents (which we can't see).

DON:

This day and age, these are a lot more practical for keeping in touch and not getting traced.

SARA:

Not wanting to sound awkward, but—

Panel 7

SARA gestures at the seagull, which is perched on a rail outside the window and eyeing them quizzically.

SARA:

How's she gonna carry it when she's an animal?

PAGE SIXTEEN. Six panels.

Panel 1

HARRY is picking his way along the shoreline, negotiating a narrow, rocky beach between the water (on his left) and a steeply wooded bank (on his right). He's holding his hat on with one hand and his overcoat is flapping around him in the breeze. He doesn't look terribly happy.

CAPTION (SYLVIA's JOURNAL):

Paul Smithsteen was a respected psychiatrist here in L.A.

HARRY:

Why do I always end up hiking through woods?

HARRY:

Goddamn spying fisherman.

HARRY:

I shoulda gone into the city with Don.

Panel 2

He stands and shades his eyes and we see, from his POV, the curious boat (a far-off tiny blob). It should appear that HARRY is to the North of the house and is standing on a headland of the bay.

CAPTION (SYLVIA's JOURNAL):

But I don't know why Don's dragging him around — he was born pre-Event, so he can't possess superhuman abilities.

HARRY:

All right. I don't think he'll see me from this angle.

HARRY:

But I'm not good with water so—

Panel 3

A close-up of HARRY's face as he stands with his eyes closed.

HARRY:

I guess you're up to bat, limey-boy.

CAPTION (SYLVIA's JOURNAL):

He also seems to suffer from a multiple personality disorder.

Panel 4

Identical view. His eyes remain closed but his nostrils flare as if taking a deep breath. From this point on, HARRY will assume his JEROME personality and his captions will be labelled appropriately in the script. There isn't a physical change (I'm beginning to regret that decision) so I'll try to make the personality change obvious in the dialogue. Note that JEROME's speech will use British spelling where necessary.

SFX:

<sniff sniff>

Panel 5

Identical view, but his eyes are now open.

JEROME:

Ah, sea air.

Panel 6

JEROME begins to remove HARRY's overcoat.

JEROME:

I gather I am to investigate the fellow in the boat?

CAPTION (SYLVIA's JOURNAL):

He needs further investigation.

PAGE SEVENTEEN. Seven panels.

Panel 1

JEROME draws HARRY's revolver from a pocket of the coat.

JEROME:

What's this? Harry, my friend—

Panel 2

JEROME hurls the revolver as far as he can into the water.

JEROME:

—These things never do any good.

Panel 3

JEROME, stripped to the waist (and without shoes, though that won't be obvious at the moment), is wading into the water.

No dialogue.

Panel 4

In the boat (a small powerboat) sits the "fisherman". He's not fishing and there is no sign of fishing equipment. He has binoculars slung around his neck. At the moment, he's eating a sandwich. His name is unimportant, but we'll call him BOB for purposes of the script. Behind BOB, we can see a pair of hands gripping the stern of the boat as JEROME pulls himself out of the water.

No dialogue.

Panel 5

JEROME is now in the boat, balancing easily although it is rocking violently. BOB has turned and is drawing a pistol.

BOB:

Wha—

Panel 6

Close-up detail of JEROME bringing the edge of his hand down on BOB's wrist, causing him to drop the pistol (probably overboard).

BOB:

Ow!

Panel 7

JEROME now has BOB helpless, twisting his arm behind his back in some kind of fancy hold.

JEROME:

Now perhaps you would be so good as to steer this boat towards the shore?

PAGE EIGHTEEN. FIVE panels.

Panel 1

A close-up of a computer screen (the big one in the house) displaying a news story. The banner across the top of the screen should read "L.A. GLOBE" and "ONLINE EDITION", and should match the banner of the newspaper seen in ISSUE 3 PAGE 6. Beneath this we have the headline, in big bold type: "Aliens Took My Baby". A photograph of EILEEN WEBSTER should also be visible. The text of the story scrolls off the bottom of the screen, with only the following visible:

Vancouver, Canada.
Secretary Eileen Webster's baby was
snatched from her buggy by what Ms.
Webster has described as "huge,
inhuman figures". Police have

Panel 2

Pull back from the above view to reveal JAMES, sitting in front of the wall-screen and scribbling notes in a small book. He is fully costumed and masked.

SARA (off-panel):

We're ba-ack —hey where is everyone?

Panel 3

DON, SARA, and CHI-YUN have entered the room. SARA is loaded with garish shopping bags of uncertain contents (but the reader can assume sundry items of fashionable clothing). CHI-YUN should be dressed noticably differently from when we last saw her. DON holds the mysterious package up in his hands.

CAPTION (SYLVIA's JOURNAL):

And of course Don, my old sparring partner.

DON:

We bring phones, computers, false passports, and — oh — credit cards!

SARA (softly):

Beware of secret agents bearing gifts.

Panel 4

JAMES stands and stretches.

JAMES:

Passports? We're leaving the country?

DON:

God, I hope not! No, I just want to be prepared.

CAPTION (SYLVIA's JOURNAL):

He fell easily in to the role of everybody's favourite uncle.

Panel 5

SARA is critically examining a new pair of boots.

SARA:

Why not? Paris is nice in the fall — Chi Yun, why did you let me buy these?

CHI-YUN:

Wha—

JAMES:

I was thinking of Canada—

BOB (off-panel):

Ow! Quit—Oww!

PAGE NINETEEN. EIGHT panels.

Panel 1

JEROME enters, pushing BOB ahead of him. He still has BOB in some form of fancy arm lock and BOB is obviously in some discomfort. JEROME is still stripped to the waist and barefoot, dripping water.

JEROME:

I caught this fellow observing us through a spy glass.

Panel 2

JEROME pushes BOB, not gently, against a wall.

DON:

Jerome? You're back?

JEROME:

Of course! Now what do we do with him?

Panel 3

Close-up shot of DON's face up close to BOB's. We don't need to see their full bodies, so we can't see exactly how DON is holding BOB against the wall, but we should see from their faces that it's not gentle: DON is grim and BOB is scared.

DON:

We find out who sent him and why he's watching us.

Panel 4

In the same view, we should see BOB's eyes have slid to the right, looking over DON's left shoulder.

No dialogue.

Panel 5

DON glances over his shoulder, in the direction BOB's looking. Our POV should now let us see who he's looking at: SARA.

DON (softly):

Terrific.

Panel 6

DON's face right up against BOB's again.

DON:

Who are you working for?

DON (softly):

Jacques?

Panel 7

Same view. We're still looking at their heads, so we don't need to see what DON does to elicit BOB's squeal of pain.

BOB:

I don't know—

BOB:

Owwwww

BOB:

Okay, yes, yes, Jacques wanted a watch on the girl—

Panel 8

From behind, JAMES puts a hand on DON's shoulder.

JAMES:

Don! We don't need to do it this way.

PAGE TWENTY. FIVE panels.

Panel 1

DON is pushing BOB out of the room, again not gently, while the others watch him. They are exchanging uncomfortable looks, but nobody is making a move to stop him.

DON:

Wait Here.

JAMES:

But—

Panel 2

CHI-YUN, JAMES, SARA, and JEROME remain in the room, still eyeing each other uncomfortably.

CHI-YUN:

Do you think he'll shoot him?

JEROME:

Don is an honourable man.

CAPTION (SYLVIA's JOURNAL):

Don's the glue that's holding the whole group together.

Panel 3

Now everybody is looking at SARA.

JAMES:

Who's Jacques?

SARA:

I don't—

Panel 4

SARA turns away from the others and looks through the window. We should see this as if looking in through the window, SARA's troubled face in the foreground and the others standing behind her.

CHI-YUN:

Come on, that guy looked right at you.

JAMES:

And Don knew it.

Panel 5

SARA turns and confronts them.

SARA:

I can't tell you, ok?

SARA:

It's not your problem. It's not the Krai or anything hunting us, it's just—

SARA (softly):

I can't tell you why.

PAGE TWENTY-ONE. FIVE panels.

Panel 1

DON returns. He looks grim.

DON:

Ok. He won't be a problem.

CHI-YUN:

You shot him?

CAPTION (SYLVIA's JOURNAL):

But none of them really know him.

Panel 2

DON gives CHI-YUN a funny look.

DON:

Chi-Yun! Geez, no of course I didn't shoot him!

DON:

I just... warned him.

CAPTION (SYLVIA's JOURNAL):

How long will they keep blindly following him?

Panel 3

JAMES faces DON.

JAMES:

Who is Jacques? And why are men watching Sara?

DON:

Monsieur Jacques runs the mob in Seattle. He's big trouble, but he's not our enemy.

DON:

—yet.

Panel 4

DON has moved over and placed his hand on SARA's shoulder. She doesn't turn to face him.

DON:

As for the rest — that's a private matter for SARA.

Panel 5

JAMES, CHI-YUN, and JEROME exchange uneasy glances.

FRED (off-panel):

You people are just unbelievable!

PAGE TWENTY-TWO. FIVE panels.

Panel 1

FRED is standing in the doorway. He's evidently just come in; his jacket is zipped up and he's holding his crash helmet.

CAPTION (SYLVIA's JOURNAL):

She thinks she's found herself a happy new family.

FRED:

I'm admitting I'm not into the team spirit thing.

FRED:

But you people! You do the touchy-feely, pull-together act

Panel 2

FRED steps into the room (he needs to be away from the doorway) and tosses his helmet on a chair.

FRED:

—but just look at yourselves!

CAPTION (SYLVIA's JOURNAL):

Families are never happy.

Panel 3

Large group shot. Everybody's getting FRED's points, looking uncomfortable, and quite obviously looking everywhere except at him or at each other.

FRED:

Don works for some mystery group we're not allowed to know about—

FRED:

Major Straight-and-narrow wouldn't even trust us enough to even show his face—

FRED:

Nobody's admitting what abilities they have—

FRED:

And now Sara's being stalked and —hello?— that somehow isn't important enough to tell us what's going on?

CAPTION (SYLVIA's JOURNAL):

How long before it all comes unglued?

Panel 4

Close-up of SARA. Her face is emotionless but her fists are clenched.

SARA:

Ok. Fine. Jacques is watching me because of my mother. They're rivals. She runs the mob in Los Angeles.

CAPTION (SYLVIA's JOURNAL):

And which way will they all jump when it does?

Panel 5

SARA rushes from the room. We should probably see her retreating back from the group's POV, so we don't see her expression.

SARA:

My mom's a gangster.

SARA (softly):

I hate her.

CAPTION (SYLVIA's JOURNAL):

It will happen. And I can be patient.

Next: Onward and Downward

See also: Los Angeles Globe Headlines

Copyright © 2003, 2016 by David Meadows. All rights reserved.