SYMKA Issue 3
Copyright Sean McGinity ©2003
Edited by Suzanne Campbell for The Guild Companion
A man in a suit is walking down an airstrip to reach a small private plane several hundred feet away. It is night. Seen from the rear, he should project confidence in his walk. Two men with long hair in ponytails walk at each side. They too wear suits, but differently styled from his, with more flamboyance.
The suited man walks up the steps to the private plane. His assistants walk up behind him.
The suited man walks towards a seat in the back of the plane. There are only a few seats. Each is very big, and forms three sides of a square around the middle of the plane. There is a bar table on the fourth side, with bottles of expensive alcohol on display.
The two assistants are seated, across from one another. The suited man is seating himself. He should be between the two other men.
Shot from behind the suited man's head. He is seated, with a man on each side.
Suited man: Well. Let us be off then. I have a long overdue appointment to make...
¼ shot of the suited man. It is the shadowed man from the last two issues. He looks very calm and assured.
Suited man: ...and some objects to reclaim. I want to be there in the morning.
Stick, wearing only a pajama bottom, sits up in bed. He stretches his hands over his head. His face is contorted in a yawn.
Stick walking towards the reader, rubbing his face with his hands.
Stick opens the door to the main room of his apartment. Gideon is sleeping on the sofa to the left of the panel. He is curled up in a fetal position, restlessly entwined with the blanket. Silver is walking towards Stick, coffee in hand.
Stick: G'morning, Silver.
Silver: Good morning.
Joaquin walks into the panel with Stick and Silver. He has a coffee in hand.
Joaquin: Gideon's beat. We should let him sleep. When he wakes up we'll have to decide what we are going to do with the tablet.
Stick: I thought about it all night. Do you think there'll be other people gunning for it?
Standing in front of one another, sipping coffee.
Joaquin: I don't know. I know nothing about these tablets. Gideon seems to be the expert ever since he touched one of them*. He's been weird ever since. I don't want anyone else touching that thing.
Silver: I'm not comfortable having this in our possession. We'll need to get rid of it.
Joaquin: Not until we know what it can do.
Caption: *Seen from Issue #1.
Dream-like panel. Gideon stands in a misty environment. He wears a red sweatshirt with a large hood pulled over his head, hiding his features under the hood's shadow. He stands alert.
Gideon (thinking): Where am I? This place feels familiar, like I've been here before.
Voice (off panel): Giddddeooon...
Dream like panel. Gideon is pushing aside shrubbery to get to something.
Gideon: Hello? Who is there? Do I know you?
Dream panel. Gideon stands in front of a woman. His mouth and eyes are wide. She is older than him, with a long grey streak through her hair.
Woman: You must leave, my son.
Gideon: Mother? Is that you?
Woman: Shush! Listen to me. He is coming for you. I can only hide you for so long. You must get away. Hide! I will cover for you!
Dream panel. Gideon stands in shock. The woman grabs at his arms. She seems desperate, looking over her shoulder.
Gideon: I won't leave without you!
Woman: Such a valiant child. But this is not a valiant world we live in. And your father was never a good man. You must learn to be strong. And cold. Never let the world hurt you, my beautiful son. Now go. Go!
Gideon sits up quickly on the couch. He is sweaty and in a bit of shock. Stick, Silver, and Joaquin stand in a circle away from the couch, looking at him.
Joaquin is at the couch, holding Gideon's shoulder. Gideon is sitting up on the couch slowly remembering where he is.
Joaquin: It was only a dream, Gideon.
Gideon: I know. I know...It just reminded me of some things, that's all. We need to make a move very soon. This tablet is still leaving pulse waves to those sensitive to it, including me. If someone gets close enough to it, they'll get its "scent".
Joaquin: Like who, Gideon?
Gideon is sitting up completely now. He has his feet off the couch, on the floor. He has his hands on his knees, tensely. He looks up to Joaquin.
Gideon: Only all of the powerful people who have ever touched any of the tablets. We are not safe until we hide this blasted thing.
Stick (off-panel): What do you propose, Gideon?
Stick stands next to Silver who looks down at Gideon on the couch. Joaquin is still at Gideon's side. Gideon looks excited.
Stick: Is there some way to block the tablet's "scent"?
Silver: Yes, isn't there some sort of material that blocks magic or...
Gideon: Yes! That's it! We can block it with lead! We need a case, or something to stuff it in! Then we need to get it away from me, because I have the tablet's scent on me!
Silver leans in, getting a little excited herself.
Silver: I'll pick up a small suitcase. That should do it.
Gideon: Good, good! Then we'll stuff it in the subway, in a locker!
Stick is sitting down at the computer desk. He is looking at Gideon.
Stick: Let's see what I can find out from my buddies today while you're shopping.
Stick: Oh, and Gideon? Maybe take the chance while you can to... ah... take a shower or something.
Gideon: Oh... Sure.
Dale and Willis are just finishing setting up some equipment in a room.
Caption: At Dale Turcott's house just outside the city, Dale is helping Willis Tanchuk install some new computer equipment he bought for him.
Willis: This stuff is cool, Dale. Now, I get to keep it when I'm done finding out the information for you. Right?
Dale: Yeah, yeah. If you hold up your end of the bargain, it's yours to keep. Just find out who Hi Tech Henchmen really are. That's it.
Willis is screwing shut a panel on the hard drive. Dale stands behind him.
Willis: So what's the deal, Dale? Why you so hot on these guys, huh? So what that they're a corrupt company. Does it matter?
Dale: My reasons are my own, Willis.
Willis: Come on, man, its Scanner...
Dale: I want the information and that's all. No questions asked. All right?
Willis: Yeah. Now get out of here so I can work.
Dale is walking out of the room, with his keys in hand. Willis is at the edge of the panel, still twiddling along.
Dale: Okay. I'm going. You have my cell number. Call me if you get anything.
Dale is walking out of the house.
Dale (thinking): I'm glad I bought this place out of town. It's a great retreat from the city, a place to get away from the bustle. I plunked a small fortune into it; it has everything I need
Dale is walking across a yard to his vehicle, his Range Rover.
Dale (thinking): I always had wanted to make it as a news reporter. I got my break a few years ago, uncovering a deep conspiracy with a senator and a rather young lady. It brought me the attention of one of the major stations in Chicago, which offered me a job.
Dale unlocking the car door.
Dale (thinking): This station gave me a name. I was a top reporter for a large news company, and was paid well. But they forced me to cover stories that held no interest for me.
Dale in the vehicle, ¼ shot. He is starting the car.
Dale (thinking): What's Bill up to? Why is he so hell-bent on accusing these parahumans of the murder of that night watchman? Independent News is becoming just another news company. I may have to move on again.
Computer terminal styled panel.
Brad638: There has been an awful lot of interest in everything Tibetan lately. I found a bunch of auctions for Tibetan stuff. A lot of interested parties!!!
Stick: What kind of interested parties?
Brad638: The Diamond Emporium for one. Who knows what they want with Tibetan stuff...
Stick: That's weird. Who else?
Brad638: Here's the link. This is all the info.
Computer panel. Should read like a news article online, with fictional advertising on each side of the screen.
Article: At a recent online auction, bidding hit new highs as several parties vied for ancient artifacts unearthed 50 years ago in Tibet. The regular auction goers were quickly bumped out of contention for purchasing by a group of buyers who have been making their rounds at several online auctions. This group's bidding and counter-bidding elevated the amounts to historic levels, which squashed any chances of the regular buyers to compete for the bids.
The group, who's names include King King, Manice Konsil of the Canadian Law-Enforcement Group (also known as the Canadian Super Team), Edith Harker of the Museum, Mordo, and Katharta, have made a rash of overbidding online, bringing into question whether the online community should ban certain parties from online auctions.
Computer panel. Same text as last panel but with an overwritten "message" popped up on the screen.
Message: What are you doing, "Stick"? Follow along. Click "OK" to proceed.
Stick (off-panel, in regular world balloon): What the hell? What's this? Who is this?
Computer panel. We are in a chat room again.
Text (in red letters): Stick has joined
Blue Moon: Hello, Stick! Thanks for joining us. I have been watching you and your friends. Who, might I ask, is putting you up to this?
Blue Moon: Don't be shy, my friend. We are on the same side. We are both trying to find what we can on the Symka tablets. We both question their origins and who are after them. But you don't have the ability to survive the parties interested in the tablets. These people are willing to do anything to get their hands on them. Presently, you know too much, and have involved yourself too much. This is a final warning. I cannot help you any further if you pursue this.
Text(in blue text): Blue Moon has left the room.
Stick is sitting at his computer terminal, leaning back. He seems almost afraid.
Stick(thinking): Who is this Blue Moon?
The front door of Stick's apartment. Joaquin, Silver, and Gideon are entering the room. Stick is sitting on the couch.
Caption: While Stick surfed the Net, the rest of the party was off doing their own things.
Silver: I have a briefcase, lead-lined! We'll just stuff the tablet into this and hide it in the subway.
Joaquin: Great! Great!
¾ shot of Gideon, Silver, and Joaquin. They seem to be happier than they had been. Joaquin has the backpack hanging from his hand. Gideon is serious.
Joaquin: The sooner we shove the tablet into the briefcase, the happier I'll be.
Gideon: Wait a second. What are our plans here? We hide this away, then what?
Silver: We'll have kept it out of everyone's hands.
Stick sitting with his back to the computer, looking at the others (out of panel). He has one eyebrow arched. He is about to get out of the chair.
Gideon: What are we going to do about the other tablets? The people after this tablet probably have one or more of their own.
Stick: Wait one minute, Gideon!
Stick is walking across the room towards Gideon who looks at him incredulously. Joaquin has a shocked look on his face.
Stick: What do you propose to do? Touch the tablet and sound an alert to everyone that you have this stupid tablet!?!
Gideon: No, that's not my intention!
Stick: Or do you have some kind of craving for the thing?
Gideon: Get off it, Stick! What I'm saying is that we need to be proactive! We need to do something!
Stick and Gideon face to face. They are both red-faced angry.
Stick: Want to know what I found on the Net today? People know who we are, Gideon! Some guy who calls himself Blue Moon found me and sent me a warning. He knows about us. And he said our lives are in danger.
Gideon: Welcome to the real world, junior!
Stick: And he told us to get out now, while we still can.
We have Gideon's father, the shadowed man, riding in the backseat of a nice limo. He is leaning back, looking very relaxed and comfortable. He even has his tie loosened a little. He is leaning forward slightly and has a hand up with a pointed finger. His two guards are still with him, sitting across from him.
Caption: An important figure is going to force Gideon and company to make a decision.
Gideon's father: I want you to drive around the city until I get something. He cannot hide from me. I want that tablet!
Car phone(fx): Ringgg!
Gideon's father is delighted. He is almost cracking a smile. He has a phone held to his ear.
Gideon's father: Yes? You have his scent? Perfect. The tablet must still be leaving a trace. Where are you? I will be right there.
Gideon is holding back Stick with one hand, the other holding his forehead. Gideon is strained. Silver is in the background.
Gideon: Aaah. Something... Someone... is coming... Someone of great power.
Stick: What? Who?
Gideon: I'm... not sure. But he's being led here. We have to leave!
Silver has her hand held out. She has a look of controlled panic on her face. Joaquin is holding the backpack out to Silver, a little reluctantly.
Silver: Joaquin! Give me the bag! I will fly it to the subway! Now! I'm the quickest and most maneuverable.
Joaquin: O-okay. Okay. Here. Look! We can't stay here either, or we compromise this place!
Interior of the limo. Gideon's father is leaning forward. He has his index and middle finger to his forehead. He is concentrating.
Gideon's father: I feel the tablet! Driver, move it! Now!
Gideon's father (thinking): And I feel you, my son, because of your proximity to the tablet. It seems your mother had found some way to disguise your presence from me. But that is now undone, at least until the emanations of the tablet fade entirely.
Shot of Stick's apartment building. Silver in an eagle form, flies off to the left. Joaquin leaps off to the right, next to Gideon who is hanging onto the staff of the flying Stick.
Caption: Silver races off, in eagle-shape to the subway, while Stick, Joaquin, and a dazed Gideon branch off in another direction...
Silver (thinking): I have to get to the subway and find a locker to stick it in. We took the time to carefully place the tablet in the lead-lined case, but it may have slowed us down too much.
Joaquin(thinking): I didn't like giving Silver the tablet, but what choice did I have? Gideon's out of it again. Why is he reacting like he is to the creeps that are after the tablet?
Gideon looks pained. Beads of perspiration are on his forehead.
Gideon (thinking): That presence I felt...so familiar. That one contact I had with the tablet has made me ultra sensitive to any powerful beings that have been in contact with any of the tablets. Their proximity sends off an alarm in my head... so powerful.
Gideon's head is tilted back and he has just let go of Stick's staff. Stick is in the panel, still holding the staff.
Gideon (thinking): So powerfulllllll...
Stick: Gideon? Gideon!
Gideon is falling through the sky in a ball, Stick is out of sight.
Stick (off-panel): Gideon!!!
Stick, his body twisted, is turning around. He is holding his staff in one hand.
Stick (thinking): Why did he let go? He's going to fall to his death! I have to catch him!
Stick flies fast through the air. He has his arms forward, to cut the wind. He is pointing his staff forward.
Caption: Stick harnesses all the speed his power will allow, trying to save Gideon, a man he is not even sure of, a man whom, under different circumstances, he might even oppose. But that does not matter now.
Stick is zooming towards Gideon's limp body.
Caption: In his heart, Stick wants to trust Gideon. He sees something good in him. He knows that Gideon is a hero. But what really matters now is saving someone's life.
Stick catches Gideon.
Caption: That is just what Stick does.
Stick, with Gideon in his arms, is alighting onto a rooftop. Joaquin is leaping onto the same rooftop in the background.
Stick is putting Gideon down. Joaquin is running towards the two men.
Joaquin: What happened? I saw Gideon let go!
Stick: I don't know why he let go. It looks like he passed out or something.
Stick is holding Gideon, shaking him a little. Gideon's eyes are rolled back into his head.
Joaquin: Ever since he touched that tablet he's been acting weird, spazzing out on me.
Stick: He said something about the emanations from the tablet slowly fading away. Maybe when they have stopped, he'll be back to normal. I wish I understood all that hocus-pocus.
A man in an expensive suit (dressed exactly like the "leaper" hound from issue 1, but a different man this time) walks down the street. He wears an ear and mouthpiece for radio communication.
Caption: Nearby, a hound is hot on the trail of the tablet...
Leaper (in whisper): Sir, the tablet's emanations have been blocked, but I still have a fix on the thief himself. He is close by, but he seems to be moving.
The leaper, listening.
Gideon's father (text should look like it is coming from the earpiece): Never mind him. Obviously they are blocking the emanations of the tablet itself. Perhaps one of his friends has fled with the tablet.
Leaper: Wait! What's that?
Silver, in eagle form, flies in the sky, holding the backpack with her taloned feet. The leaper is looking up at her.
Leaper: I think I may have something, sir. An eagle carrying a... a backpack! I will check into this.
The leaper leaps straight up to the top of an office building from an alley. The building's height should be seen with the open street to the right visible, to show Silver as an eagle flying down the street. The leap looks effortless.
The same shot as last panel except things are moved over to the left, getting a better shot of the street next to the building and Silver. The leaper bounces off the top of the building, and over the side, right next to Silver. He touches her wing. An impact effect should show the touch as potent. The backpack is dropped.
The panel should take up the full height of the page, slashed through the center of the panel. Two sets of actions are occurring concurrently in two different places and the break in this panel should represent that. Top part of panel. Full shot. Gideon is waking up. Joaquin and Stick are still at his side. Bottom part of panel. Gideon's father in the limo. His head is tilted a little to the side, as if he were concentrating on something.
Gideon: Where's Silver? Where's the tablet?
Stick: It's okay. She's getting it to the subway. Don't you remember?
Gideon's father (the word balloon should be connected to the word balloon in the bottom of the next panel): He regains consciousness. It seems my son's touching of the tablet has also given him a hint of others approaching him that have touched it. I thought I was the only one that would feel such a thing. It seems my son is more of my blood than I thought. My arrival here has caused his mind to backfire trying to process my level of power, yet he doesn't suspect who I am.
Same as last panel, full height of the page with a slash through it. Top part of the panel. Full shot. Gideon is getting to his feet, shrugging off their help. He is looking off to his side. Bottom part of the panel. Gideon's father in the limo. He is leaning forward. He has his thumb and forefinger held to his forehead.
Gideon: Of course I remember! We should have followed along...
Gideon: That presence... I know it. He may find a way to sense the tablet even through the lead case. We have to get to her!
Stick: She was going to take the closest subway entrance, which should be just around the corner. Let's go!
Gideon's father (the word balloon should be connected to the word balloon in the bottom of the next panel): Maybe, I should go to him. What would happen to his sensitive mind the closer I get to him?
Speaker (the word balloon should be connected to the word balloon in the top part of the next panel to indicate it is the leaper speaking here): What do we have here?
Same as last panel, full height of the page with a slash through it. Top of the panel. Full shot. The leaper has the lead case. The backpack is on the ground. The eagle (Silver) is lying on the ground, unconscious, in front of him. A few people are standing around the man, looking at him. Bottom of the panel. Gideon's father is leaning forward, in anticipation.
Leaper: A lead case? Hmmm...
Innocent bystander: Hey! Why'd you hurt that bird, Mister? Huh?
Gideon's father (the word balloon should be connected to the word balloon in the bottom of the next panel): It must be the tablet! Lead would block the emanations of the tablet. You must open the case to make sure!
The leaper is opening the case to reveal the tablet. The innocent bystander is behind him with a hand on the leaper's shoulder. Joaquin is landing from a leap in the background. Stick is depositing Gideon (with hood pulled over his head, to hide his face), who is holding onto his staff. The leaper is unaware of anyone but the bystander.
Leaper: The tablet! I have it!
Innocent bystander: Hey fella! You just hurt that bird!
Leaper: Leave me alone. This is none of your concern.
The leaper is now standing holding the tablet. There should be an impact effect where his hand touches the tablet. The lead case is falling to the ground. Joaquin is ushering the bystander aside in a kindly fashion. Gideon is very serious and tough. He doesn't look pained anymore. Stick is moving forward aggressively towards the leaper.
Joaquin (in whisper text, should be just above his head, not intersecting with the rest of the text in this panel): One side. This could get dangerous.
Stick: I think it is my concern, 'Slick'.
Stick spins the man around to face him.
Stick points his staff at the leaper, striking him in the chest in a very hard blow (showing off Stick's strength).
The leaper is reeling back, keeping his eyes on Stick. He holds the tablet in one hand. In the background, Gideon is picking up Silver. There is a little movement from her. Stick is moving in, looking dangerous, almost like an animal stalking its prey. Joaquin is trying to calm the bystander.
Stick: You hurt Silver, Mister! And you have something that doesn't belong to you. Tell me you're going to resist me.
Leaper: Come on closer, miscreant. My master is the true owner of the tablets. It is by his power that I shall destroy you! Now, where is the other tablet?
Stick is reaching back with his staff, ready to make another swing. The leaper reaches out, touching Stick on the shoulder.
Stick: Other tablet? I should ask you the same question. Now hand it over!
Leaper: Never! You are not worthy!
Stick is reeling from the touch. There should be an effect to show a handprint where Stick was touched. Stick is losing his balance. The leaper is standing to full height now, having shrugged off the earlier hit. He still has the tablet in hand, like a football player might palm a football.
Leaper: Hooligan! You are taken out with a mere touch! Show me your bravado now!
The bystander rushes out of Joaquin's grasp, intent on going after the leaper. He has a fist raised in the air. Joaquin is reaching for him.
Innocent bystander: Let me go! You supermen have taken hold of our city for too long! It's time we reclaimed our city from you!
Joaquin: No, you fool!
The leaper grabs the bystander by the shirt and raises him up, over his head. The bystander is flailing his fists.
Leaper: And now with this citizen in my grasp, none of you will dare threaten me.
The leaper is hit with a blast of Gideon's energy (Gideon off-panel). He looks surprised and in pain. His grip on the bystander is looser, but he still holds onto him. He also still has the tablet in his other hand.
Gideon is standing strongly, with none of the weakness apparent that he had before. His legs are wider apart. He has Silver cradled in one arm. His other arm is extended. His middle fingers and his thumb touch, and the hand smokes with a green energy.
The leaper is fighting for consciousness, but is crumpling down to the ground. He still holds onto the tablet in one hand, and the bystander's shirt with the other. The bystander is kicking at the leaper trying to get loose.
Innocent bystander: You energy shooting creep! You coulda' killed me shooting wild like that! And you, bird-killer, let go a' me! Don't ya' know when you've been beaten?
Gideon is face to face to the innocent bystander. The hood (great parallel to his father's shadowed face) shadows Gideon's face. He juts his jaw out.
Gideon: I suggest you leave now, while you still have the chance.
The bystander is red in the face and shouting at Gideon.
Innocent bystander: This is exactly what I'm talking about! You superhuman pieces of crap have been lording it over us humans, because of the injustices "we" have done to you, when all you ever do is hurt people, and birds, and don't care a wit about the damage you cause...
The bystander is waving his arms about. The leaper is now totally unconscious on the ground. Joaquin is taking Silver (in bird-form) carefully from Gideon. Stick is trying to get himself up from the ground, but severely struggling.
Joaquin: We need to get out of here! There's a crowd gathering and the police will be here soon.
Gideon: Yes. You're right. Let me just get the tablet.
Shot from tablet's perspective up, making Gideon look disproportionate. Gideon is reaching for the tablet. His hands are large, as are his forearms, which taper off as we get to his shoulders. Gideon's head is very small.
Gideon: We need to get this back in the case.
Gideon's father has exited the limo, and is running down the street.
Gideon's father (thinking): All my son's friends have powers. My hound will be beat surely... and punished. But I am too close to let the tablet fall out of my grasp again! It is time to show myself.
Gideon has the tablet in hand. His eyes roll back. There should be an impact splash on Gideon's hands on the tablet. In the background, Joaquin is helping Stick get to his feet. Silver is on his shoulder. A crowd is gathering around.
Gideon's father's body is falling down to the sidewalk, as his own ghostly form flits backward away from him.
Caption: In that instant of contact, Gideon links with his father. His father, surprised by the sudden intrusion into his mind, lets go of his physical body...
There should be a dreamy quality to the panel. The upper middle part of the panel has an island with a castle on it. The lower left part of the panel has two men sitting at an empty restaurant table with a metal box on the table. The lower right part of the panel has the tablet in a red transparent box, with four people in robes surrounding at four corners, with a few armed men with rifles in hand.
Caption: ...allowing Gideon access to his father's powers. Gideon reaches out across the city, across the country, across the world, feeling for the impression of the Symka tablets, finding their locations with the greatest of ease. One is before him, in his own hands; one is on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, guarded by a man of great power, a mile under the ground; another is right here in the city, held by two restaurateurs in a lead box; and the final one is across the city, in a glass box of energy, guarded by several wizards and Hi Tech Henchmen.
The ghostly form of Gideon's father is reentering his body slumped on the sidewalk. A couple of passerby's are checking him out to make sure he's okay.
Ghost form of Gideon's father: What happened? My son connected to my mind, and expulsed me from my own body. He has power, but he merely took me by surprise. It is obvious he does have a symbiotic relationship with me, as decreed.
Ghost form of Gideon's father: He has left my body now, but he had joined his own power to mine. What did he learn?
Passerby: Are you okay, Mister?
Gideon's father gets to his feet while the two passerby's help him. He is shoving money at one of them.
Passerby #1: What happened to you?
Gideon's father: Nothing happened. Get away from me. Here! Thank you for you assistance. Take this as a form of gratitude. Now, away from me. I am late!
Gideon's father runs down the street.
Gideon's father (thinking): I must get to the tablet while some of his number are still dazed! It is just around this corner!
There is a bustle of people. The subway entrance is in the background, and several people are going up and down the stairs. The leaper is nowhere is sight. The innocent bystander from before is staring at him.
Gideon's father: Gone! They are gone!
Gideon's father (thinking): They got away and now I feel no sensation of the tablet at all. Where could they be?
Gideon's father is looking at the innocent bystander. The bystander just stares at Gideon's father.
Gideon's father: What are you looking at?
In the subway station, Stick has an arm around Gideon to hold himself up. Joaquin is carrying the leaper over his shoulder. Silver, in human form, is next to them. She is wearing her sweats and sweatshirt, the backpack she holds to her side by one of the straps. She looks beat up (injuries sustained while in eagle form). She is arranging her sweatshirt (she obviously just got it on). They are all moving quickly away from the subway entrance. There are several bystanders around watching them. The subway train is on the left, slowing down.
Caption: Blocked by the layers of concrete, metal, and earth, Gideon's father is unable to detect his son or the tablet in the subway system... or the hound they have taken along with them, despite the curious glances from the subway goers.
Gideon: Why are we taking this guy with us?
Silver: We need to learn what we can. What way better than from this guy?
Gideon: I think it's a risk. Are you okay?
Silver: No. That leaper guy paralyzed me and I hit the ground really hard. I'll have to take it easy. I just need to sit down. I wasn't safe remaining in my other form. I'll heal up better in my regular, human form.
The four of them enter the subway train. There are still onlookers staring at them.
Joaquin: Stick? Are you coming out of it?
Stick: Yeah. That guy hit me with some kind of paralysis with just a touch. Really powerful. My suped-up body is having a hard time fighting it, but I'm getting some feeling back.
All four are sitting on seats in the train. People are still staring. The leaper is still unconscious, slumped in a seat. Gideon is looking around, suspicious.
Gideon: We need to get somewhere private to plan. There are too many ears around us. I'm sure we look mighty suspicious right now. I learned some things when I put the tablet back into the box. We need to talk strategy.
Dale's Range Rover pulling into his driveway. The passenger side headlight is the foremost in the panel.
Caption: Later that evening, Dale Turcott has just returned home...
Dale (thinking): Willis hasn't called me. I suppose he hasn't found anything yet, or maybe he's just surfing the Net, taking advantage of my generosity.
Dale is walking towards his house. He is holding groceries in his arms.
Dale (thinking): I have to find some sort of proof that Hi Tech Henchmen are responsible for killing that poor night watchman. Hey wait...
Dale: Hey, Willis!
Willis is running frantically towards Dale. Dale is in the foreground, Willis in the background. Dale is in a defensive mode, his alert senses already warning him of danger.
Dale: What's going on, Willis?
Willis runs past Dale, behind the Rover.
Dale: Scanner? Who are you running from?
Willis is behind the car, and Dale is in a ready-position. Two shots zoom past him and hit the Rover.
Dale: What the...?!
Shot of Dale's house. Two men decked out in Hi Tech Henchmen clothing are standing next to Dale's house on the right side, with rifles.
Dale (off-panel, thinking): Hi Tech Henchmen? Here?
Dale is running towards the Rover, crouched down to avoid another shot, which zooms just over his head. Dale is reaching into his jacket.
Dale (thinking): Are they trying to kill Scanner? And why? What did he find?
Dale is calm, and Willis is petrified. Sweat runs down Willis' forehead. Dale is holding up a .45 pistol in his hand, cocking it.
Dale: What happened, Scanner? Why are Hi Tech Henchmen here?
Dale: Never mind. It doesn't matter. It's time to take matters into my own hands. You stay here. I'll take care of this.
Dale jumps out from behind the other side of the Rover, firing a couple of shots. He is very confident as if he's done this before. The shots hit the corner of the house near the Hi Tech Henchmen. One of the Hi Tech Henchmen still has his head out.
Dale (thinking): Willis is in shock. I don't think he'll go anywhere, so he should be okay. Now, to scare them behind the house with a couple of blasts.
Dale is running full-tilt towards the left corner of the house, opposite where the guards are. From this angle, most of the sides of the house should be visible, except for one side. The two guards should be seen cowering behind the right side of the house. Dale is still firing away to keep them back.
Dale (thinking): I'll make my way around the house and try to surprise them.
Side full shot of Dale running along the house. Coming around that same corner from the other direction is another Hi Tech Henchmen, with a rifle. Neither is aware of the other. There is a window near the corner of the house, which has a bullet hole through it.
Dale (thinking): I need to clean this up real quick. Damn! Why are they here?
The Hi Tech Henchman and Dale see one another, as they both round the corner. They are both surprised, leaning back to get away from one another.
Dale and Hi Tech Henchman: What?!!?
Dale fires off two shots into the henchman's chest, both very great shots. A very surprised look on the henchman's face. Dale is calm and cool.
Dale (thinking): I must be slipping! I should have heard him coming. I was too wrapped up in my own thoughts.
Dale is running back towards the Rover again. One of the henchman from the other side of the house is doubling back around the house. The other remains where he is, rifle aimed around the corner.
Dale (thinking): They'll have heard the shot. Likely they will double back to help their partner out. I'll go back around the house to surprise them.
Dale has rounded the corner and has noticed one of the henchmen firing a shot at it from around the other corner. Dale gets nicked in the right shoulder.
Dale is running forward, ducking his head down. A shot narrowly misses his head.
Dale (thinking): This is no good! I have to get back to my vehicle! Man, what a great shot! He almost took my head off!
Dale is bent over, opening the driver's door to the Rover. Willis is huddled near the back door.
Dale: Get in the jeep, Scanner! Now!
Willis runs off in panic away from the property, down the driveway. Dale is half in the vehicle. Two shots hit the ground near Willis' feet.
Dale has his left hand out the window, crooked around to the front of the windshield firing off two shots towards his house. The shooter is pulling behind the house again.
The Rover is speeding towards the shooter. The vehicle spits up dust and gravel behind it. Dale has an arm out the window, firing a shot at the shooter, and hitting him in the leg.
Dale (thinking): Come on, henchman! Keep your bead on me! Let Willis get away!
The Rover zips by the shooter. The driver's door is swinging open and nailing the shooter's wounded leg.
Dale faces off against the shooter, in a fighting stance. The shooter is hopping on his one good leg.
Dale gets off a kickboxing kick to the man's side ribs.
Dale gets another kick in on the other side of the shooter in his ribs.
Spinning heel kick from Dale knocking the guy down.
A cargo van comes screeching around the back corner of the house. Dale is in the headlights, just turning his head.
Dale cartwheels narrowly out of the way of the van.
Ghost image of Dale crouched on the ground. Real image of Dale running after the van.
Dale (thinking): I have to get them!
Dale's hand reaches for the vehicle.
Dale leaps at the van.
Dale is rolling behind the van.
Dale is just standing there, clothing a little ruffled.
Dale (thinking): Run, Willis. Run!
Siren (off-panel, fx): Wheee-oooo!
Dale (thinking): The police! Thank God!
A police car drives up Dale's driveway. An officer exits from the driver's side and another from the passenger side, guns drawn.
Dale: You have to hurry! Someone's trying to...
Officer #1: Put your hands up! And drop the gun! Now!
Dale: Someone broke into my place and tried to murder a guest of mine! They are still after him!
Dale is putting the gun down on the ground. Both officers still have a bead on Dale.
Officer #2: That may the case, sir, but we still need to bring you to the station.
Dale: Sure, sure. I'm coming along willingly, officer. Just please check it out! Can't you dispatch another car?
Officer #1: We will do that, sir. Just tell us what happened.
Dale is sitting at a table in a solitary room, with an empty chair across from him. An interrogation room. He is tapping his fingers on the table.
Caption: Dale is taken in for questioning at the precinct. He offers the police everything he knows. They tell him they have already dispatched a second car to find Willis.
Dale (thinking): I wonder if they found Willis yet. If he had only stayed put, I'd know he was safe.
Dale (thinking): Did Hi Tech Henchmen learn that I was investigating them, and mistook Willis for me?
There is a glass mirror (2-way most likely) against the left wall that can be seen from this angle. Dale is still seated. The door, on the far right, is open and Sgt. Stadanko (from issue #1) is entering the room.
Stadanko: Mr. Turcott. What a surprise to see you here. Not enough news on the street that you have to create your own?
Dale: Boy, am I glad to see you.
Stadanko: Why me? I'm just another cop.
Dale: But a cop who will make sure Willis Tanchuk doesn't get murdered.
Standako is sitting at the table across from Dale. He looks very calm. This is nothing out of the ordinary for him.
Stadanko: Murdered, eh? Why do you think that?
Dale: Hi Tech Henchmen broke into my home and attempted to murder him. There were three of them and they all had rifles. I think those are grounds to stop them.
Stadanko: I spoke to a representative of Hi Tech Henchmen, Turcott. They say they identified a certain Willis Tanchuk as one of the thieves in the museum robbery, and followed him to your home.
Dale is leaning forward, a little anger in his face. Stadanko is still very calm.
Stadanko: They say they are not going to press charges against you for assaulting their men. They say they could even press manslaughter charges against you. What do you say to that?
Dale: Manslaughter? They broke into my house and took shots at Willis Tanchuk and myself! I tried to save a man's life tonight! Who knows if he's still alive with those vigilantes running around loose! I protected myself!
Dale and Stadanko at the table. Dale is leaning back in his chair this time.
Stadanko: Calm down, Turcott. I understand. I'm only the messenger. My gut tells me you're onto something. But you have no proof. It's their word against yours. And they have a corpse with a bullet I'm sure came from your gun. They could name you as an accomplice trying to help Tanchuk get away. They're trying to scare you. They have the resources to keep this in court for years. And you're just one man.
Stadanko: Besides, you sure gave Hi Tech Henchmen a nice review on the news this evening.
Dale looks a little surprised. Stadanko is as calm as ever.
Dale: What are you talking about?
Stadanko: They showed footage on the news tonight of Hi Tech Henchmen protecting the museum from some evil parahumans. It portrayed Hi Tech Henchmen very heroically. The parahumans killed the night watchman.
Stadanko: "With video provided by star reporter Dale Turcott".
Dale: That can't be. That's impossible!
Both men at the table.
Stadanko: I never trusted them henchmen, but what can I do?
Dale: I took footage of them battling the parahumans, but it was Hi Tech Henchmen that murdered that poor watchman, not the parahumans. The parahumans were trying to save him. My God!
Dale: I can't believe Bill Bannerman betrayed me.
Stadanko is getting up from the table.
Stadanko: You're free to go, Turcott. Hi Tech won't press charges if you don't. It sounds to me like there are people that are helping Hi Tech Henchmen look like they have a clean slate. It's good to know you aren't one of them--intentionally anyway. You go out there and do the real story. Good luck.
Dale is in a pub, standing next to the bar, talking to the bartender. It is pretty empty.
Dale: Can you put the eleven o'clock news on? I heard there's a...good broadcast tonight.
Bartender: Oh yeah? Sure I can put it on. No one around to complain.
TV screen panel. Bill Bannerman is on the screen sitting at a news desk alongside an unnamed woman.
Bill: Repeating the footage from our earlier broadcast, we'll show you how the vigilantism of some parahumans is proving to be a threat on our streets. The security company Hi Tech Henchmen was providing extra protection to the Civic Museum last night after a theft a few days ago from some unnamed group. The group identified itself last night in this expert video shot by star cameraman and reporter Dale Turcott. This is taken just moments after the thieves murdered the night watchman, Jeff Anderson.
TV screen panel. Gideon blasting a big Hi Tech Henchmen with his eldritch energy (recap from Issue #2). Silver in kodiak bear form is there and Joaquin is leaping up. Stick is flying upwards.
Reporter (off-panel in): Phil Constance here for Independent News. Hi Tech Henchmen tried to prevent Jeff Anderson's murder last night in a pitched battle in front of the Civic Museum. Anderson, a recently hired night watchman for the museum, was apparently trying to warn the security company that the thieves were returning. But he was too late.
TV screen panel. Stick smashing down on top of one thug with his staff under his feet. Everyone else stands back.
Reporter (off-panel): Hi Tech Henchmen did their best but were quickly beaten down by the parahumans. The parahumans' goal is unclear. If anyone has any information regarding this renegade group of parahumans, please report all information to CrimeWatch at 555-5555. As you can see, their faces are hard to make out because of the poor light.
Television set in the background, with the image of one of the big Hi Tech Henchmen thugs falling down. There is a couch on the right hand side of the panel. Silver (in human form, sweats and sweatshirt) sits there along with Stick. Joaquin is sitting in a chair (the computer chair), just off center in the panel. Gideon sits in the big chair (proving to be his regular chair). Are all glued to the TV screen.
Stick: So we've been branded officially by the media, and by Independent News in particular! Who the hell is this Dale Turcott and how did he get these shots?
Gideon: We obviously weren't watching our backs. They know who we are now.
Silver: And we've been beautifully framed.
Joaquin: It isn't so easy to be out promoting justice, is it?
Gideon, from his chair, is looking up towards Stick who is standing up now, pacing the room. Both Silver and Joaquin are looking at Joaquin.
Stick: This isn't right! We can't just take this! We can't let ourselves be branded as murderers and thieves! We have to do something!
Silver: Settle down, Stick. We will do something, but not because we want good media. The right thing to do is get Hi Tech Henchmen in trouble over this.
Gideon: Whatever, right or wrong, all this does is make things harder for us. These shots were taken late at night, so it will be hard for them to make out our faces. But they may still identify us.
Silver: We need to protect our identities somehow. We can't show our faces in public again until this blows over. Except for me, because no one is going to know I'm the bear in the video.
Stick is still walking around the room.
Gideon: It's obvious that Hi Tech Henchmen leaned on Independent News to get the story out the way they wanted it. This is a skewed report. Maybe we need to talk to this Dale Turcott and make sure he doesn't know anything else. I mean, if he got the footage of us wiping the floor with the henchmen, then did he also get the footage of the henchmen killing the night watchman? And what do we do with him?
The leaper that attacked Silver earlier is bound and gagged in a chair. He is conscious, but looks very worse for wear.
Silver (off-panel): I don't like having him around. We should let him go.
Gideon is standing before Silver, speaking and gesturing excitedly. The leaper is in the background, looking up at them.
Silver: Besides, he didn't tell us anything anyway. He won't talk.
Gideon: Of course he won't. They'd kill him if he did. And they'll kill him if we release him. He is on his own for failing them.
Silver: How do you know this, Gideon?
Gideon: Trust me. I know their kind. I know their kind very well.
Gideon: When I touched the tablet today, to put it back in the case, I... I connected with someone of great power. Somehow, I expelled his essence out of his body and shared his power with mine. His power... disgusted me, but I used it to locate the whereabouts of the remaining tablets. I know where they are. Or at least where they were at that moment in time.
Stick is standing over Gideon.
Stick: So you know who has them?
Gideon: No. Just where they are. The power doesn't work that way. And I got booted out before I could find that much more. I just know general locations, and what they look like.
Stick: We can match that up with what I found today. I found out that there are four groups that are purchasing everything Tibetan at several online auctions, and who knows where else, with huge sums of money.
All four standing around in front of the leaper. He is looking up at them. Joaquin is holding up a wallet, opened up.
Joaquin: Let's not go any further just yet. We need to take care of this guy first. What do we do with him?
Gideon: Let's go shopping. Look what I have.
Joaquin holding open the man's wallet, to show his ID, and a credit card, turned sideways in the wallet. The ID card has this written on it:
ID Card: Jones, Jeffrey
Authorization Clearance: HIGH
HI TECH HENCHMEN
The credit card is a VISA, with a Hi Tech Henchmen corporate logo on it.
Joaquin: We're going to use this guy's card to buy us some merchandise, equip ourselves if you will. Personally, if I'm getting shot at, I need some sort of protection.
Stick is holding his hands up in frustration with the conversation. Joaquin is in the foreground. Gideon is off to his right side.
Stick: What? You can't be serious! We can't do that! What are we, criminals?
Joaquin: Don't you love the irony of the situation? We use their money to protect ourselves from them? You need some body armor, my friend, or you're going to be dead from a stray shot.
Gideon: Look, we need some financing if we're going to be collecting the tablets. It's just the way it is unless you know of some other way to raise the cash. I'm not going to be knocking over a bank. At least this way we're hurting the people we intend to hurt.
Stick is looking at Silver, for a response. Joaquin and Gideon look certain on their decision.
Stick: Silver? How are you with this? You've always been the one to make the right decision. We do need to equip ourselves, and none of us have the resources to do this.
Silver, thinking it over.
Silver stands in the center, excitement on her face.
Silver: I don't want to see you get beat up the way I did today, Stick. You need some body armor. We need a vehicle. We need to tackle this head on. Sometimes you need to get your hands dirty. We'll do it!
Silver: But first, I have a plan in store for our captive that will keep him busy for a little while.
This is pure text on a bold yellow background.
Caption: What does Silver intend to do with Jeffrey Jones? How far will our heroes go to secure all of the tablets? And how will Dale Turcott deal with his sudden infamy with a certain quartet? Join us next issue.
SYMKA and the World of Genetics are the intellectual property of Sean McGinity - all rights reserved.