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SYMKA Issue 2

Copyright Sean McGinity ©2003

Edited by Suzanne Campbell for The Guild Companion

 

PAGE ONE

Panel 1.

Splash Panel. There should be a dreamy quality, remembering the past here. This panel is a recap of last issue. Upper left side of the panel has a close-up picture of Gideon and Joaquin's faces staring at the Symka tablet. Joaquin has a look of wonder, Joaquin of surprise. To the right shows Stick and Silver (in dog form). Bottom left of the panel has Dale Turcott with a camera on his shoulder, shot. Bottom right of the panel has the shadowed character.

Caption 1(near the picture of Joaquin and Gideon): Joaquin and Gideon find themselves in possession of one of the ancient Tibetan tablets known as the Symka. Quickly enough they learn that powerful parties seek the tablets.

Caption 2(near the picture of Silver and Stick): They form an uneasy alliance with Stick, a martial artist, and Silver, a shapechanger.

Caption 3(near the Dale Turcott picture): Dale Turcott of Independent News is on the story, trying to find out what the Symka tablets are, and who are the parties interested in it.

Caption 4(near the shadowed figure): A sinister man overlooks everything.

PAGE TWO

Panel 1.

Stick sits at a rickety computer table. He has one hand on the keyboard, and is half-turned towards the others in the room. Joaquin stands in the center of the room, clutching his knapsack tightly over his shoulder. Gideon sits on the beat-up recliner to Joaquin's right. He is semi-alert (touching the tablet has tired him out), leaning back in the chair. He has an elbow on the arm of the chair, his hand supporting his head. His other hand holds a coffee cup on the other arm of the chair. Silver sits on the edge of the couch opposite Gideon, holding a steaming cup of coffee in both her hands. Her elbows rest on her knees.

Caption: In a nondescript apartment...

Joaquin: We trust you for now. You did help us out when the Armani-wearing goon came after us*. We'll work with you for now. We'll tell you what happened.

Caption (on the bottom of the panel): *See last issue.

Panel 2.

Close-up of Joaquin's face, the edge of his head fading into a dream-like remembrance sequence.

Joaquin: Gideon and I were in the park, hanging out, not doing much of anything...

Panel 3.

The edge of the panel should have a dream edge to it. Gideon is playing a guitar strapped over his shoulder. Joaquin stands next to him. A couple of people are watching him play. Gideon wears particularly ratty clothes. It is obvious he is busking. Gideon and Joaquin are distracted by something. They both are looking over their shoulders, towards a man and a woman leaping over a chain-link fence.

Joaquin(as a caption): ...when we caught sight of a man and woman leaping over a fence next to the Guthrie mansion. The woman had a knapsack on her back. I thought maybe they had robbed the mansion. We decided to stop them.

PAGE THREE

Panel 1.

Dream edge to the panel still. Full shot of Joaquin doing a standing kick on the woman. Gideon is in the forefront of the panel, emerald energy crackling around one hand, the other blasting that same emerald energy at the man. The panel is showing more about what happened than what Joaquin is actually telling them. He is leaving things out so Stick and Silver don't realize that they are super-human.

Joaquin (as a caption): Whoever they were, or what they were running from, we didn't care. We took them both out.

Panel 2.

Dream edge. Full shot. Two uniformed men walk through the chain-link fence, which now has a hole in it. The fence smokes a little. Obviously the fence was blasted through. The men are Hi Tech Henchmen, so they should have a standard issue uniform for the lower level muscle. They both have blasters in their hands; exactly the same as the one Joaquin used last issue.

Joaquin (as a caption): We soon learned who they were running from. Two guys in rent-a-cop uniforms with some funky hardware. They told us to leave and forget what we saw. It was obvious they were going to kill the couple.

Panel 3.

Back to a normal panel. We are back in the apartment. Stick is at the computer, leaning back towards the others in the room. Everyone is looking at him.

Stick: The rent-a-cops work for Hi Tech Henchmen. Hi Tech Henchmen rent out their people as bodyguards for top dollar. I just checked them out on the Web. They were hired to watch the exhibit at the museum.

Panel 4.

shot of Silver.

Silver: I was there after the two of you left the scene, in my canine form. Stick and I heard blasts from outside his apartment and decided to check it out. I saw the two Hi Tech Henchmen laid out as well as the two thieves you took out. Everyone was unconscious when I got there, and the police were already cordoning off the area. Your scents were on everything. But they did not lead back to the museum where the tablets were stolen.

Panel 5.

Full shot of Stick, still at the computer but half-turned around now. Joaquin is still standing looking down at Stick from the center of the room.

Stick: So I take it you fought these Hi Tech Henchmen?

Joaquin: Yes. We somehow managed to defeat them. We took their hardware and...

Panel 6.

shot of Joaquin. He is pulling the backpack towards the front of his body, but still keeping the straps over his shoulder. He is showcasing it.

Joaquin: ...and this. The tablet. If these rent-a-cops were willing to kill the thieves over this, we couldn't let them have it either. There was something more going on here than just a simple robbery.

 

PAGE FOUR

Panel 1.

shot of Dale Turcott sitting at a desk. A laptop is on one side of the desk. A pile of papers is on the other side. Stacks of small camera tapes are on the end of the desk closest to the forefront of the panel.

Caption: Meanwhile, in an office at the Independent News studios.

Dale (thinking): Two Tibetan tablets were stolen from the Museum of Antiquities, while four other Latin ones were left behind untouched. What was so special about these tablets? And if the museum had Hi Tech Henchmen protecting the exhibit, how come they weren't able to stop the theft?

Panel 2.

shot of Dale. This time he is leaning back in his chair, hands behind his head.

Dale (thinking): A third party apparently intervened when the Henchmen got the drop on the thieves. When I showed up at the scene, the Henchmen and the thieves were both laid out. Really laid out. They weren't even semi-conscious when I got there. I think this third party had some serious power, because the skirmish was over quickly, and there hadn't been much of scuffle. But enough to lay everyone out hard. What really happened?

Panel 3.

The edges of the panel should waver like the outer edges of a television set. At the center of the panel, a newscaster reads from a set of papers.

Newscaster: In the news today, the civic Museum of Antiquities was robbed today of two ancient Tibetan tablets, believed to be thousands of years old. The security of the museum, provided by security specialists Hi Tech Henchmen, provided this statement.

Panel 4.

TV panel again. An older graying man with a microphone pointed at his face is speaking.

Hi Tech Henchmen rep: Two individuals strolled into the Museum of Antiquities this afternoon and stole two Tibetan tablets. Hi Tech Henchmen attempted to stop these individuals but were foiled by a third party, made up of parahumans. The parahumans fled with both tablets. We believe both parties are connected to one another.

Panel 5.

Close-up of a computer screen. On the screen is a chat room with the following:

Scanner: These tablets apparently contain energy that can be released when brought together, allowing the person using it to channel that energy.

Decker: I think them Hi Tech goons have a stake in it.

Brad638: For sure they do, man! 2 months ago they were protecting some other Tibetan exhibit and stuff went missing there too. This third party baloney is a set-up to make them look innocent.

Stik: What Tibet exhibit????

Brad638: In NYC. I'll send you the link to the story...

Panel 6.

Same panel as last.

Scanner: I scoped that they screwed up a job in Oslo IL, 2 months before that. It seems pretty obvious they are stealing from their contracts.

Decker: But how do they keep getting these jobs? People must be stupid or something.

Stik: Scanner --- do you know where that link is for Oslo?

Panel 7.

Same panel as last.

Brad638: What do you care Stik?

Scanner: Oslo Times probably. Try out a search on Yahoo?

Decker: took 4 scrolls in Oslo, I think.

Stik: A buddy of mine may have seen something, Brad638.

Scanner: A friend of yours, Stik? Some dude is asking me the same questions. Hey Decker, you got the hack skill. Can you find out some more about Hi Tech Henchmen?

Panel 8.

Same as last panel.

Stik: I'm interested too. I got stonewalled so far.

Decker: Let me see what I come up with. I like a challenge. Look, I got to go. My sex slave just got home.

Brad638: You wish, dude!

Decker: Meet you tomorrow, same time, same room. Loggin' out!

Panel 9.

We have panned out from the last panel to see Stick tapping away on the computer. The shot is from the back of his head.

Stick: This is interesting. I have some news for you.

PAGE FIVE

Panel 1.

Stick is sitting on the chair, hanging over the back of the chair. Gideon is in the same chair eating a candy bar. Joaquin is sitting down on the sofa next to Silver. They each have a plate of food.

Stick: Hi Tech Henchmen are definitely not clean. Either that or they have a terrible track record. They botched two other jobs that had Tibetan artifacts in the last four months.

Joaquin: So what do you know about them?

Panel 2.

shot of Gideon eating his candy bar. He is savoring it and concentrating on it.

Stick(off-panel): Nothing yet. My online guys are looking for anything they can find on them. I came up against a brick wall during my search. But my online buddy, Decker, can find anything. He's broken into the Canadian government computers a few times without getting caught.

Panel 3.

Same shot as the last, this time with Gideon looking towards Stick (who is off-panel).

Gideon: For being such patriotic "super-heroes", you two sure don't hang around with the "good" people.

Panel 4.

Full shot of everyone in the room. Stick and Silver are staring at Gideon in surprise.

Panel 5.

Same shot as the last, except Joaquin is leaning back slightly, belly laughing.

Joaquin: Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

Panel 6.

shot of Gideon. He is looking at them, slyly.

Gideon: It's a joke. First us, then that Decker guy. You're building quite a reputation.

Gideon: So, do you think Decker can find out what we need to know?

 

PAGE SIXage Six

Panel 1.

shot of Stick, less stuffy than before, the joke having loosened him up a bit.

Stick: Oh yes. He will. No matter what. What do you know about them? You must have had some kind of idea.

Panel 2.

In this panel, Gideon is the most in the foreground, a shot of him. Stick, a little further out, is in full view. Gideon looks straight ahead, not at Stick. Stick rests his arms on the back of the chair, with his chin on his arms.

Gideon: I touched the tablet and this strange thing came over me. I saw things, but they weren't normal, not things you see with your eyes, but through all your senses. It was surreal. There are four tablets. Between the four of them, they contain the power of Manapatapoo, a fallen god who was killed by his brother.

Stick: Is that why they were stolen? For the power?

Panel 3.

Same panel as last, but Gideon is looking at Stick this time.

Gideon: That is probably why the museum had it in the first place. Some power hungry archaeologist... Over the last few centuries, people have killed for its power. This wasn't the first time. It won't be the last.

Stick: This one tablet? It has power?

Gideon: No, not on its own. Only when the four are joined. But there is one unaccounted for that the museum had. Joaquin and I don't have it, and the thieves apparently didn't have it.

Panel 4.

shot of Silver.

Silver: You're right. We need to talk to Edith Harker, the museum curator.

Panel 5.

Panels 5, 6 and 7 should all be in a row at the bottom of the page. Full shot of Dale Turcott. He is standing at a hot dog cart buying a hot dog. The scenery should be in the shot. The vendor is a very young kid. There are trees in the background. It's a pretty nice day, early evening but still sunny. Dale has a hot dog in hand, the other holding a canned drink.

Caption: Later that day...

Phone (hidden) (fx): Beeloop! Beloop!

Dale: Aaah! Hey can you hold my dog? I have a call.

Panel 6.

shot. Dale has one arm extended at the vendor who is holding the hot dog and taking the drink from Dale's extended hand. He doesn't seem impressed with him. Dale's head is tilted, holding the phone between his shoulder and his head.

Dale: Yeah, hello, Dale Turcott Independent News. How can I help you...

Dale: Hey Willis,...I mean Scanner. How are you? Find what I'm looking for?

Panel 7.

Willis "Scanner" is at the same laptop at work as before. He is tapping away at the keyboard, looking slightly disinterested. He holds the receiver of the phone with his shoulder.

Willis: No. Hi Tech Henchmen is tied up tighter than Fort Knox. Their website and whatever news items I could pull up on them are pretty standard for any company. Nothing interesting.

 

PAGE SEVEN

Panel 1.

shot of Dale, very much in the forefront of the panel. Same tight panel as the last three. The vendor in the background is holding Dale's hot dog and drink. He holds them higher in the air. He seems upset.

Dale: There's a but there, right? You found something. What's the "but"?

Phone (Willis in "phone" text): Yeah, yeah... news reports I found stated that triple H has failed at least twice in the last four months protecting particular types of exhibits.

Panel 2.

Same panel as last. Dale now has his back to the vendor, completely ignoring him.

Dale: What kind of exhibits? Ones of a Tibetan flavor, I bet.

Phone (Willis phone text): You got it.

Dale: How convenient. I have to find out more. What else have you got for me?

Panel 3.

Willis at the laptop. He seems to be a little more interested than his last shot, but just a little.

Willis: I told you, I couldn't really find anything.

Phone (Dale): But....

Willis: Man, you're a pain! A buddy of mine is looking for more info. I can't tell you anything until he gets back to me. Did you know some other dude is looking for the same info?

Panel 4.

Dale again. He holds his hand out to the vendor, with one finger up to tell him he'll only be a minute.

Dale: Really? Maybe I should talk to him. Look, I want you to call me as soon as you get something. You got it?

Phone (Willis): Yeah, yeah. I got to go.

Panel 5.

Dale is closing the cell phone and looking back at the vendor. The vendor looks angry but holds the food out to Dale.

Dale: Thanks.

Vendor: Yeah, whatever.

Panel 6.

Full shot through a window. The window is open, with the angle looking out onto the street. Two very large men stand outside the museum doors, dwarfing the doors. They must be seven feet tall. They are overly muscular, bald heads, tight black t-shirts, with combat boots and black stretchy slacks. It is dusk.

Caption: Meanwhile, at Stick's apartment...

Stick(off-panel): Now isn't that just a little suspicious?

 

PAGE EIGHT

Panel 1.

Panned out from last panel. Stick is sitting by the window. He is pointing out the window with his thumb. We can still see the two large men standing by the doors of the museum.

Stick: These two steroid junkies have been standing outside the doors of the museum for some time now. They seem to be there to scare the riff-raff away.

Panel 2.

Full shot of Silver, Stick, Gideon and Joaquin. Silver is looking at Stick. Joaquin is standing with his arms crossed. Stick is still seated by the window.

Gideon: We can't go talk to the Harker woman if Hi Tech Henchmen have left their goons there.

Joaquin: What do they expect? Do they think someone's going to steal something else now?

Silver: We might as well call it off for tonight. We're not seeing Edith Harker tonight.

Stick: Wait!

Panel 3.

Dale in his vehicle. Inside shot of the vehicle, shot of Dale.

Caption: Dale Turcott unwinds, deciding to take a spin around the neighborhood...

Dale(thinking): I might as well take a spin and check with Edith Harker. Maybe she's at the museum.

Panel 4.

Full shot of a man running frantically through the museum. One foot on the ground, one back and in the air. He's really moving, in pure panic. He's wearing a night watchman's uniform.

Caption: Jeff Anderson just started work at the museum. He thought it would be a cushy job. He might even get some good reading in. How hard could a night watchman's job be?

Panel 5.

Aerial shot of the museum doors. The two men stand on either side of the door. Jeff Anderson is bursting through the front doors. Both men have their heads turned towards the man. Also, Dale's Range Rover is driving by at that exact time. Stick's apartment building is also in the panel.

 

PAGE NINE

Panel 1.

Jeff Anderson has run by one of the large men, who has caught the back of his jacket collar. He is elevated off the ground by the man's powerful arm. His legs are further ahead of his body than his torso, fluttering away.

Caption: Jeff Anderson only wanted a good paying job.

Panel 2.

Panel split into to equal triangles. Dale Turcott looking out the passenger side window in one triangle in horror. Joaquin looking horrified in the other.

Dale/Joaquin: No!!!

Panel 3.

The big man smashes Jeff Anderson into the sidewalk with one hand. Chips of the sidewalk break off. Jeff Anderson's head is surrounded by a big impact effect.

Caption: What danger could there be?

Sidewalk (fx): Smash!

Panel 4.

Full shot. Joaquin pushes Stick away from the window and leaps past him through the window to the street. He is crouched to fit through.

Caption: Without conscious thought, Joaquin leaps into action, angry at himself for being too slow.

Panel 5.

Tall and wide vertical panel. There are three blur images of Joaquin, left to right. One is about to land, another is springing off the ground, the last is flipping through the air. The real image of Joaquin is fully twisted in the air, giving one of the big man a downward chop with one of his legs. The big man is slightly crouched from the impact, still holding Jeff Anderson's collar in one hand. There should be an impact effect on Joaquin's contact.

PAGE TEN

Panel 1.

Full shot of Dale's Range Rover squealing past the scene, around the corner.

Dale(thinking): Oh my God! I can't believe I just saw that! I have to get there right away!

Panel 2.

Full shot of Stick's window, from the outside. Stick is flying through the window, holding his staff at full extension in both hands. Gideon is hanging on to it, recklessly. Silver, in a bird-form, flits out next to them. Her clothes are still standing in the window from having flown out of them.

Caption: The hastily assembled team jumps into action following Joaquin's lead. Silver changes her form into that of a sparrow, and flies out the window. Gideon doesn't question this. He knows Joaquin cannot take both these big bruisers on his own. His friend needs his help. He will take whatever allies he can get right now.

Stick: Hang on, Gideon! I can fly us there. Trust me!

Panel 3.

Dale is getting out of his car (3/4 shot). He has his camera with him.

Dale(thinking): Hurry! Hurry!

Panel 4.

Stick deposits Gideon to the ground. Gideon has some eldritch green energy building around his hands. Silver shapechanges into a bear from the bird form.

Caption: Silver again changes shape, this time into a powerful Kodiak bear.

Gideon(thinking): The man flies and the woman can take any animal form? Let's show them what real power is!

PAGE ELEVEN

Panel 1.

Joaquin is landing softly to the ground in front of "his" thug. The thug is slightly dazed. Gideon is blasting eldritch energy from both his hands at the second big thug. The thug is bathed in the green energy.

Eldritch Energy(fx): ZZZZOT!

Panel 2.

Blurred image of Stick, flying with his staff held out with both hands in front of him, flying upward. The non-blurred Stick should be visible in the upper part of the panel, leaving the panel. Silver in bear form, raises herself on her hind legs, arms outstretched, claws extended.

Silver: Rooaar!

Panel 3.

Another large horizontal panel. Silver slashes at the big thug Joaquin had taken on. Joaquin is at her side, crouched on the ground.

Claws(fx): SLASH!

 

PAGE TWELVE

Panel 1.

Stick flying upwards slowly, reducing his initial speed to let gravity start pulling him.

Panel 2.

Stick is falling down straight towards thug number two, staff held under his feet, body crouched. He's fallen a dozen feet from an initial 100 feet in the air. The thug hit by the eldritch blast, is steamed. Gideon has energy building around his hands. Silver is going toe-to-toe with the other thug.

Panel 3.

Stick making a hard impact on thug number two, with the staff under his feet. The impact blast is quite large.

PAGE THIRTEEN

Panel 1.

Joaquin is still crouched. He's reaching into his left side inner pocket with his right hand. He has a look of pure confidence on his face.

Panel 2.

Joaquin slashes out with the weapon he pulled, a kukri knife, in a large outward slash against thug #1. The thug has a gash across his body, from right abdominal to left shoulder. This should only be a line, as he hasn't started bleeding yet. The thug's head is tilted towards the stroke of the blade, reeling.

Blade(fx): SLASH!

Panel 3.

Silver rushes thug two (she's switched partners) in a four-legged charge. The thug is on the ground, on one knee, shaking his head. Stick is crouched facing the thug, watching Silver.

Panel 4.

Silver rams the thug from the side, whose body curves around Silver with the impact. He has a very pained look on his face.

Impact(fx): WHAM!

Panel 5.

Joaquin jumps straight up from the ground, rolled like a ball, arms out to his sides. The thug reels in front of him from the last hit he took. Blood starts to form in his cut.

Panel 6.

Joaquin, in full extension, kicks the thug in mid-air. His position is almost like he is lying flat on his back in the air, his arms extended out at the sides for balance.

PAGE FOURTEEN

Panel 1.

Long shot of the four heroes standing over two defeated foes. The thugs are barely conscious.

Panel 2.

Longer shot of last panel. Back shot of Dale Turcott. He has his video camera on his shoulder, video-taping the fight. He is across the street behind a mailbox.

Dale(thinking): Looks like I wasn't needed. But is that night watchman okay? And who are these people? This was a well-coordinated attack on the two big thugs. These guys are a team of some kind, that's for sure. Are they the infamous third party involved in the theft of the tablets?

Panel 3.

Stick kneels down over the body of the night watchman, Jeff Anderson. He is checking for a pulse on the man's jugular. Joaquin stands over him. He is combat ready, knees slightly bent, blade in hand.

Stick: He... didn't make it.

Joaquin: That's no surprise. The impact he took...

Joaquin: We need to go inside, and find those responsible for loosing these goons on this poor guy.

Panel 4.

Gideon is holding the front doors open. Silver is already walking inside on all fours, still in bear form.

Gideon: Someone must have heard the fight. We have no time to lose! Inside!

Panel 5.

Dale is running towards the museum from across the street. He still has his camera over his shoulder.

Dale(thinking): Who are these people? And what are they playing at? They checked the body. The poor guy must already be dead. I don't think they are here to hurt anybody. But what do they want in the museum?

Panel 6.

Long shot of Dale running along the street, towards the back of the museum, just by the two thugs. One thug is flat on his front, head tilted towards Dale. You can almost see his eyes open.

Panel 7.

Close-up shot of the barely conscious thug. His eyes are semi-open, fighting to stay awake. He has seen Dale running along with the camera.

Thug (very weak sounding words): Who... who... are... you, cameraman?

Panel 8.

Close-up shot of thug, same as last panel. His eyes are closed, and his mouth slightly open.

Thug(very weak sounding words): Must...reporttttt...

PAGE FIFTEEN

Panel 1.

The four stand in the museum, very dark, but not pitch black. There is a weak light off panel.

Caption: Inside the museum...

Panel 2.

Gideon looks down a hallway, to his right. His eyes are slightly glazed. He senses something. The hallway is quite long. A door at the end is slightly ajar. Light escapes from the crack in the opening.

Gideon(whisper text): Down that hall. I... I sense someone of great power, someone who's touched one of the tablets before.

Panel 3.

Joaquin, Stick, and Gideon are looking towards the right of the panel. They all have a look of surprise.

Voice(off panel): Nooooooo!

Panel 4.

Inside the room behind the door. It's an office, rather untidy with papers strewn all over. Obviously there's been some scuffle in here. A man wearing robes has Edith Harker by the lapels, forced down on a desk. Her hair is messed up. What's left of a ponytail hangs of the desk. One of her eyes is blackened. Four Hi Tech Henchmen stand around them, in standard uniform. The robed man has longer black hair, and a beard.

Robed man: You will not say anything to the press! Do you understand!?! Hi Tech Henchmen did a remarkable job of guarding the place. The thieves were very good, and we will catch them. Do not worry. All you need do is keep the story straight.

Panel 5.

Close-up the robed man. He is looking back.

Robed man: Eh?

Panel 6.

Full shot of the door bursting open. Joaquin has his blaster held out firing a shot into the room. Silver is ready in bear form, on all fours. Gideon and Stick flank each side of Joaquin.

Blaster(fx): ZZOT!

PAGE SIXTEEN

Panel 1.

shot of the four henchmen. One is pushed back by the blast from Joaquin's shot. The other three are reaching for their guns.

Panel 2.

shot of Joaquin from behind his head. His arm is extended high, and the reader should be able to trace a direct line from the end of the blaster right to the robed man. The robed man is far off in the panel, just turning away from Edith Harker. Red energy flares from the nozzle of Joaquin's pistol.

Blaster(fx small letters): Bzzz!

Panel 3.

The robed man is half turned towards the blast that strikes him, which propels him over the desk and into the wall.

Blast(fx): ZZOT!

Panel 4.

Silver charges on all fours into one of the henchmen (the farthest right one). Stick backward swings his staff in his left hand across the top of the head of the leftmost one. Both were still pulling their weapons out of their holsters. The middle henchman holds his blaster in both hands firing a shot past Stick at Gideon who is away from the rest. Gideon holds both his forearms in front of him, wielding a green shield of eldritch energy, which absorbs the henchman's blast.

Staff(fx): Crack!

Silver(fx): BOOM!

Panel 5.

The henchmen that Stick and Silver hit both crumple to the ground. Silver faces the front of the panel. Stick pokes out his staff at the previously unmolested henchman, striking him on the chin. The henchman falls backwards over Silver's body. His body is curved backwards, his arms are feebly at his sides, his gun-hand starting to drop the blaster. His head is fully tilted back.

 

PAGE SEVENTEEN

Panel 1.

Gideon tries to help Edith Harker off the table. She is not taking kindly to his help. She doesn't trust anyone right now. She is pushing him back.

Gideon: Edith Harker? I need to ask you some questions.

Edith Harker: Get off me, you heathen!

Panel 2.

Joaquin is kneeling down at the downed henchmen, gathering up their blasters.

Joaquin: Is Harker okay, Gideon?

Panel 3.

Stick and Silver (in bear form) approach Harker. Gideon is backing off, looking back in the direction of the robed man (who is out of panel).

Stick: Miz Harker. We mean you no harm. Please! It's not safe here. They may make another try for you.

Panel 4.

Harker is sitting on the desk still, leaning back on one hand, her other hand is held up towards Stick and Silver (who are off-panel). She looks very angry, not afraid.

Harker: Get back from me! And tell your pet to keep its distance! I don't want your help. I'm calling the police and you all are going to jail! Do you hear me?

Panel 5.

Harker this time is leaning forward, over the edge of the desk. She has one hand on the phone (an old-style telephone, with rotary dial). Stick is holding one hand up pleadingly, the other holds his staff.

Stick: Please, listen to me!

Harker: I don't know who you think you are or what you want from me ---but you can forget it! Drop the stick! Or I'll brain you with this phone. Now get back!

Panel 6.

Gideon is walking away during the distraction.

Stick(off-panel): See, I'm putting it down. Now, calm down. We have everything in control.

Harker(off-panel): You have nothing!

Panel 7.

Gideon is crouching down beside the robed man. The man's eyes are slightly open and rolled back. Gideon holds up one of the man's hands by the wrist.

Joaquin(off-panel): Let me try talking to her.

Harker(off-panel): I won't talk to you either!

Robed man(in weak text): Oooooh...

Panel 8.

Gideon has the man's hand in both his hands. Gideon is looking back, secretively, to make sure no one is watching.

Joaquin(off-panel): Listen, Miss. If you don't calm down, I will be forced to calm you down.

Stick(off-panel): No you won't!

Panel 9.

Gideon's looks down at the man as he breaks the man's fingers. The robed man's face is pained and his eyes open.

Stick(off-panel): We are not vigilantes...

Fingers(fx): Crack!

Robed man: AAAH!

 

PAGE EIGHTEEN

Panel 1.

Gideon is half-standing up, holding one of the robed man's wrists in his left hand. His right hand glows with green energy. He is looking back at the group. Everyone is looking at Gideon, including Edith Harker who is now standing, holding the phone over her head. Joaquin is standing next to Stick. Stick's staff is leaning against a desk. On this same desk are five blasters.

Stick: What are you doing?

Gideon: This wizard is regaining consciousness. He possesses great power. Far more than me. Joaquin was very lucky with his shot. He caught him unprepared.

Robed man(in weak text): My hand...?

Panel 2.

Same shot as the last one, except Gideon smashes downward with a fist irradiated with eldritch energy against the robed man.

Gideon: We're lucky I caught him regaining consciousness, or he could have cast a spell against us.

Panel 3.

Stick looks a little worried.

Stick: I think we're going to need to have a talk. I don't like magic.

Joaquin(this text almost cutting off Stick's text): We need to get out of here. The police will likely be here soon. We've already lingered too long. I think we've answered our questions about Hi Tech Henchmen's allegiances tonight.

Panel 4.

Joaquin is talking to Harker. Joaquin is intense, unperturbed by Gideon's actions. Gideon stands back. She looks at Gideon, and looks very uncertain, almost afraid of him. The phone is back on the desk, with her hand leaning on it.

Joaquin: Miz Harker? We need access to your car. Now, are you with us?

Harker: Yes... yes. In the back parking lot. I'll show you.

Panel 5.

Joaquin holds an arm around Harker to steady her as they walk towards the door. Gideon is slinging the robed man over his shoulder.

Joaquin: Keep a lid on it, Gideon. They don't trust us.

Panel 6.

Stick and Silver are looking back at Gideon and Joaquin (off-panel). They look suspiciously at them.

Stick: Keep an eye on them.

 

PAGE NINETEEN

Panel 1.

Dale is crouched down next to a car, camera ready on his shoulder. He doesn't have his eye on the eyecap.

Dale(thinking): Where are they? Maybe I should have gone inside. Have they threatened Edith? Maybe she doesn't know anything and they have hurt her! I have to go inside!

Panel 2.

There is wild excitement in Dale's eyes.

Dale(thinking): Wait! Here they come!

Panel 3.

Silver, Stick, Gideon, Joaquin, and Harker are walking across the parking lot from the exit door. The robed figure is slung over Gideon's shoulder. Joaquin still has an arm around Harker protectively.

Joaquin: Everything's okay, Miz Harker. The police will be here soon. Do you have anything in your car that we can tie this guy up with?

Harker: Yes, I do. Are you going to hurt me?

Panel 4.

Joaquin is talking to Harker. She is looking up at him.

Joaquin: Miz Harker... We did not come here to hurt you. We came because of Hi Tech Henchmen. They... attacked the night watchman. We knew you had to be in danger. We couldn't sit idly by. Do you understand? We don't want to hurt you.

Panel 5.

Gideon is next to Harker and Joaquin. Gideon looks at her. He looks very non-malicious.

Gideon: Hi Tech Henchmen hurt you. And they tried to kill the thieves that stole the tablets from the museum. They have to be stopped. They want the tablets for themselves! This must be obvious to you.

Harker: Yes. They planned on taking the tablets all along. I know. That's why they wanted to keep me quiet. I knew too much. I think they were going to kill me.

Panel 6.

Gideon is looking protectively at Harker.

Gideon: They were going to kill you. We stopped them. We've probably attracted their attention away from you to us. But you still have to be safe. I suggest you speak to the police and get protection.

Panel 7.

Harker is opening the trunk of her car. Dale is behind a car in the distance. His camera is getting everything.

Dale(thinking): It's good thing I bought that new microphone. I got everything on tape. And I can pick up the audio from this distance. This group obviously have no malicious intent against Harker. It seems they helped her even. Who is that guy slumped over one of their shoulders?

Panel 8.

The trunk of the car is open. The robed figure is on the ground being tied up with bungee cord.

Dale(thinking): They're tying him up with the bungee cord from the trunk of that car. Who is that robed man? Did he try to hurt Edith?

Panel 9.

Stick is standing guard over Silver's transformation. His head is tilted back towards her, while keeping his eyes forward. Silver is changing from bear to sparrow.

Stick(in whisper text): I don't know what to think, Silver. One minute, Gideon maliciously takes out that robed figure, and the next, he's concerned for Edith Harker's safety. Did you see that wizard's hands? I think he broke his fingers.

 

PAGE TWENTY

Panel 1.

Silver, as sparrow, is landing on Stick shoulder. He has an uncertain look on his face.

Silver(in whisper text): Maybe he did. But he seemed very concerned about the wizard. I think our Gideon is a wizard, too. He probably understands the extent of the wizard's magic. He seemed concerned with keeping him unconscious.

Stick: I don't trust them, Silver! Joaquin has a heroic manner to him... But, I don't know...

Panel 2.

Gideon is looking up at Stick and Silver, while shoving the wizard in the trunk. Stick looks surprised.

Gideon: As a "wizard", I spent a lot of time in solitude, in pure silence. My hearing is more acute than the average person. You should learn to talk about me behind my back --- far behind. Or you should learn to trust me. I've been dealing with their kind for far too long. Magic users use hand gestures and the like. He needs his fingers to cast spells. I've deprived him of the use. You should be thanking me.

Panel 3.

Joaquin is slamming shut the trunk of the car. Next to him is Harker, a little calmer.

Joaquin: Whatever you report to the police, remember what really happened here. And seek some protection for yourself.

Joaquin: Now... can you tell us anything about the tablets? Anything that might keep us a step ahead of Hi Tech Henchmen's next potential victim? Anything that might help us save the next victim's life?

Panel 4.

Joaquin faces Harker. He hands her the car keys.

Harker: I... was after all the tablets myself, as a collector. I understood that many had tried to steal the tablets for the past hundreds of years, willing to kill for them. But we are in the new millennium. I thought hiring Hi Tech Henchmen would have been enough. Early on I started to question their exuberance for the job.

Panel 5.

Harker's eyes are downcast.

Harker: The leader of their group gave me the chills. Just a gut feeling, you know, like the one a good archaeologist would have. The henchmen were too busy plotting against the museum to notice the theft right away. They cursed themselves for letting their guard down. I think they really cursed themselves for letting another group beat them to the punch.

Panel 6.

Gideon, Harker, and Joaquin. Harker is in the middle of the two.

Gideon: Did the henchmen take one of the tablets?

Harker: No. The thieves took both tablets. Why?

Joaquin: How many thieves were there?

Harker: Five of them.

Panel 7.

Gideon and Joaquin both look at one another in realization.

Joaquin: Five. Five?

Gideon: I think someone is one step ahead of us and Hi Tech Henchmen.

Panel 8.

Close-up of Dale, camera still filming, one eye on the lens.

Dale(thinking): Five? But only two thieves were found. What happened to the other three?

Panel 9.

Stick is pointing. Silver flits away from his shoulder

Siren(fx): Weee-oooo!

Stick: We have company, people. We may be in the right, but as it stands, the police don't know that. We have to leave. It's good to see you're okay, Miss Harker. Take care of yourself.

 

PAGE TWENTY-ONE

Panel 1.

Stick stands in front of Joaquin and Gideon. Silver is hovering. Stick holds the staff in his right hand.

Stick: Gentlemen? Shall we go? Joaquin? Are you able to use that incredible jumping of yours to get out of here quickly?

Joaquin: You know it.

Panel 2.

Stick faces Gideon. They are eyeing each other, looking for trust in one another's eyes. Stick holds his left hand out to him.

Stick: Want a lift, wizard?

Gideon: Gideon. My name is Gideon. Yes, I want a lift.

Panel 3.

Both men shake hands.

Gideon: Then let's get out of here.

Panel 4.

Stick launches off, his right hand with the staff pointing straight up, his left hand back, clasping hold of Gideon's right hand. They are just getting off the ground, some twelve feet in the air. Silver, in sparrow form, flies away. Joaquin is in full extension leaping off at an angle. They leave behind Harker standing in the parking lot looking at them leave, a little more stable than she had been earlier.

Panel 5.

The shadowed man, sitting behind his desk. A speaker phone is on the front of the desk.

Caption: Some time later in a secret office...

Shadowed man(thinking): He hides from me, trying to guard his thoughts, his feelings, in an act of bravado. I know him too well. When he has to make the choice between his safety and the safety of those around him, he will run again.

Panel 6.

Shadowed man(thinking): He is afraid to touch the tablet again, afraid I will find him. Afraid that one more touch will bring me that much closer to wresting it from him. Afraid to face me. I shall take the tablet from his dead hands if I must.

PAGE TWENTY-TWO

Panel 1.

The shadowed man at his desk. A light on the speaker phone glows red.

Shadowed man: Fuel up the plane. I want to head the search for the man that took my tablets --- personally. I'm moving in on him. I want a cadre of my top minions with me.

Speaker phone: Yes, sir. Immediately. I'll have your plane ready to go in the hour.

Panel 2.

The man moves into the light. This man should have very similar features to Gideon and the blonde hair. His hair is tied in a ponytail. He should look ancient, but not in a wrinkled way, but more of an immortal way. His eyes should contain a century of knowledge in them.

Shadowed man: The time has come to realize your destiny, to fulfill the chain of being, to empower me with your own magic and essence...

Shadowed man (in large letters like an fx): ...MY SON.

Panel 3.

Two men are seated at a table. They are very expensively dressed. One is far more flamboyantly dressed than the other.

Caption: In an expensive restaurant only minutes away from the museum...

Flamboyant man(FM from here on in): The police and the museum security are after some little group of parahumans. They have taken one of the tablets, one only, while the press has told the public that they have two of them. No one even suspects us!

Well Dressed Man(WDM from here on in): I still don't think we should be displaying this. At least not in the open.

FM: I'll keep it safe, trust me.

Panel 4.

The roof of a building. Stick, Silver (as sparrow), Joaquin and Gideon all present. Joaquin is leaning over the edge of the building looking down on the street. Silver is on a ventilation duct.

Caption: On a rooftop near the museum...

Gideon: Joaquin and I discovered something. We want to share this with you, in exchange for whatever information you get from your hacker buddies. Do we have a deal?

Silver: I think we are all in this together now. If only by circumstance. We have to watch each other's back. Of course we will both trade information.

Panel 5.

Joaquin: Okay... We took out two thieves who had one tablet. Hi Tech Henchmen came after them. They don't realize that five people took the tablets. Edith Harker never told them that. So they suspect we have both tablets. But the thieves, at least three of the five, have one tablet.

Gideon: That puts us one step ahead of Hi Tech Henchmen.

Stick: But we still don't have a line on who these thieves are. Are we collecting tablets now?

Panel 6.

Gideon looks very serious, almost possessed.

Gideon: We have to keep the tablets away from people who would use its power. Too much evil can be wrought from this.

Panel 7.

Stick has an accusing look on his face towards Gideon, who has a defensive look.

Stick: And what exactly do you hope to gain from these tablets, my friend?

Gideon: Haven't you been listening to me? Nothing good will come from these tablets if they fall in the wrong hands! I plan on keeping them away from everyone. Until I can find away to dispose of them! Or at least until we learn the true nature of them!

Panel 8.

Joaquin and Silver watch. She is perched on the ventilation duct.

Joaquin: We never asked for your help, but you gave it --- freely. Even if you don't trust us, at least trust us enough to learn the true nature of these tablets!

Silver: And we shall.

Panel 9.

Close-up shot of the four, looking tired.

Silver: We all need some sleep. I have a couple of fold-up beds you can use if you need it.

Gideon: Our place isn't... clean. I touched the tablet there. It isn't safe. We will accept your offer.

PAGE TWENTY-THREE

Panel 1.

Computer style panel as earlier. All lettering should be in computer text. This is an e-mail to all the other members (Scanner, Stick, Brad638).

To: Scanner, Stick, Brad638

Subject: HHH

From: Decker

Whatever Hi Tech Henchmen are hiding must be important! I tried hacking for hours and got nowhere. Their security is too tight. It was easier to break into government files! I could do it but the risk is too great to get caught, the method of doing it too traceable. My family is too important to me. Sorry guys.

Panel 2.

Willis in front of the computer, his hands behind his head, supporting himself.

Panel 3.

An office. Dale sits on one side of a table. An older man, in his forties sits across from him. He wears a white shirt, and a paisley tie. He has a little bit of a stomach to him. He is leaning back in his chair, looking at Dale, who seems a little nervous/excited. The man is Bill Bannerman, station manager.

Caption: At Independent News Studios, Dale speaks to station manager Bill Bannerman.

Dale: I need you to keep this secret, Bill. I can't tell the story until I have all the information. I need to blow these Hi Tech Henchmen out of the water.

Bill: This is a news station, Dale, and it's nothing without proof. I mean, I won't tell you there's no potential in this story. But what if you're wrong, and you're being led by these... these parahumans. You know their kind. Leeching off society like we're to blame for them all. The days of Genetica fooling the simple of society into...

Panel 4.

Dale: Hi Tech Henchmen threatened Edith Harker! I can't stand back on a story like this!

Bill: The footage you have of the fight in front of the museum, the parahumans against Hi Tech Henchmen... That's news to me, Dale. That we have to report. A man lost his life tonight right in front of that museum! We have to report that. I won't play the other footage of those parahumans patting each other on the back.

Panel 5.

Dale is sitting forward in his chair.

Dale: I saw those goons pound that helpless watchman into the cement, Bill!

Bill(off-panel): But you don't have that on film, Dale. I will show the fight. Let the public perceive this how they want to. We are not here to tell people how to think. I won't show what they were talking about in the parking lot.

Dale: We are here to report the news, Bill. If we leave this as an altercation at the front of the museum, we are not reporting the whole story.

Panel 6.

Both men are leaning forward.

Dale: Give me a week, Bill. I will prove Hi Tech Henchmen murdered that night watchman. Then let me run the real story. Please. You owe me.

Bill: Dale, I... Okay. You win. I will air this footage at the end of the week, as part of your own story, with the proof you're going to bring me, or I'll run the fight. Nothing more, nothing less. You have one week. One week, Dale.

Panel 7.

Full shot of Dale walking out of the office, holding his forehead in his left hand. He seems exhausted.

Dale(thinking): Bill knows I'm right and that's why he's giving me a chance. He knows my reputation, but he is a journalist. He doesn't want to lead the public either way, and what they said in the parking lot didn't prove their innocence. They do look guilty as it is.

Willis(off-panel): Dale!

Panel 8.

Dale and Willis. Willis looks all business.

Dale: What do you have for me, Willis? It better be good.

Willis: I can't get anything on them, man. But I could. I just need some hardware. How bad do you want the information, Dale?

Panel 9.

Close-up of Dale's face.

Dale(thinking): I have no choice, Willis. I need this story.

Dale: I'll buy you whatever you need to report the truth, Willis. Let's go shopping.

Caption: Will Dale Turcott prove Hi Tech Henchmen's guilt, or will the wrong party get the blame? And who is Gideon's father?

 

Editor's Note:

SYMKA and the World of Genetics are the intellectual property of Sean McGinity - all rights reserved.

 

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