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SYMKA Issue 7

Copyright Sean McGinity ©2003

Edited by Suzanne Campbell for The Guild Companion

PAGE ONE

Panel 1.

Silver lying on her back in an operating room, while surgeons and nurses work on her.

Caption: Silver is in critical condition at the Concordia Hospital after being struck by a demonic entity calling itself Mordo.

Panel 2.

Stick, wearing a hospital gown, strides down a hallway.

Caption: Stick, hardier than his teammate in her human form, managed to fare better, and has since recovered.

Panel 3.

Stick joins a seated Joaquin, Gideon, and Dale Turcott in the hospital waiting area.

Caption: Dale Turcott has joined the group.

Stick: It's a good thing she was changing into her bear form when Mordo struck her. Her partial transformation is the only thing that saved her.

Gideon: It's a good thing she reverts back to human form when unconscious. It would have been hard to explain a half-bear to the hospital staff. They would have likely sent us to a veterinarian!

Panel 4.

3/4 shot. All four are seated, looking at Dale.

Dale: As I figured, the hospital assumed you two were just more of the injured from the debacle. No one has made the connection to who you really are.

Panel 5.

1/4 shot of Joaquin and Dale.

Joaquin: Except you, Turcott!

Panel 6.

3/4 shot of everyone. Dale looks a little uncomfortable. Joaquin looks menacing.

Dale: I think my loyalties are obvious, gentlemen...

Joaquin: I think your loyalty is questionable. You are with us because you have nowhere to run.

Dale: I am here to exonerate you all! I'm here to show this city that you are heroes, not the thieves and murderers Hi Tech Henchmen have made you out to be!

PAGE TWO

Panel 1.

Tight shot of Joaquin, Gideon, and Stick, with Gideon off to one side, half off-panel, Stick on the other side.

Joaquin: I tell you, Gideon, this guy's a bad idea! I don't give a squat about our reputation!

Stick: Well, I do! I'm tired of being thought of as a villain, a thief, a... a murderer!

Gideon: We are safer as "villains". At least that way we have a modicum of fear in our favor. If we came off like the Canadian Super Team we'd have all the heavies coming after us to make a name for themselves.

Panel 2.

Stick is standing, pointing at the group.

Stick: This all doesn't matter! Silver's life is at stake! She may not make it!

Panel 3.

Silver, in the operating room. The surgeons and nurses are working feverishly.

Caption: In the operating room, the surgeons work feverishly on Silver. They have lost her several times. But she keeps coming back every time, giving the surgeons renewed hope that they may yet save her.

Surgeon 1: We have bleeding! We have to get this bleeding under control!

Panel 4.

Close-up of Silver's face.

Caption: Silver's telepathy is still active, rooting her spirit in her body regardless of the incredible damage her body has sustained. Through sheer force of will she remains alive, letting the surgeons do their work.

Surgeon 1 (off-panel): We're losing her!

Panel 5.

Farther shot. We get a surprised look on the surgeon's face.

Caption: She is broken in many places. The internal bleeding should have proven her death. As the bleeding begins, however, her telepathy stanches the flow, allowing the surgeons more time to save her.

Surgeon 1: The bleeding's stopped! We have a lucky break here, people. Keep on her!

Caption: Silver does not want to die.

Panel 6.

Far shot. Joaquin is walking down one of the hospital halls.

Caption: Joaquin has wandered off, uncomfortable with Dale Turcott's presence.

Joaquin (thinking): I can't trust Turcott! Especially not as vulnerable as we are now! What game is Gideon playing? I mean, I understand his logic, but it just doesn't feel right.

Joaquin (thinking): Stick is really broken up over Silver. He's a fuse ready to go off. I can't stay there anymore. Maybe the docs are done working on Silver and we can go home.

PAGE THREE

Splash Panel.

Far shot. Joaquin is slumped against an alley wall. His head is almost dangling to one side. A downspout pours water onto him, just missing his head. His clothes are torn. He is shoeless, and bruised all over. He looks near death. To his right, an overfilled trashcan creates a shadow on him, with some refuse having plopped onto him. He is unconscious.

Title: THE BEGINNING

Caption: As Joaquin wanders the hospital halls, he becomes lost in thought. Triggered by Silver's condition, his past unravels in his mind, and his history and his own pain come back to him.

Caption: He remembers the pain, the physical pain. He had been beaten severely and left for dead. He didn't know how long he had been lying there. It could have been days, a week, or just a few hours. All he knew was the pain. His will was trying to keep him alive, trying to knit up his body. He couldn't move. He drifted in and out of consciousness.

PAGE FOUR

Panel 1.

Same shot, but angled to catch a shadowed figure with a hood standing over Joaquin.

Caption: He may have died in that alleyway, another statistic in this fabled city, if not for him...

Panel 2.

Same shot, except the figure has moved forward into the light. The hood does not conceal the face. It is Gideon.

Caption: ...if not for Gideon.

Panel 3.

Full shot. Gideon is carrying Joaquin into the alley.

Caption: How he stumbled upon Joaquin, he would never know. Why he stopped for him would be even more of a mystery. But Gideon did.

Panel 4.

Full shot of Gideon, in the background of the panel, sitting on a chair staring at Joaquin, who is in the forefront of the panel (close-up). He is studying Joaquin. He is wearing his hooded top, with the hood pushed back off his head.

Caption: He brought Joaquin home. How he knew where to go or how he got inside without a key he would never know.

Caption: Gideon was living on the street. He recognized that Joaquin was not a street person. Gideon may have seen the opportunity to have a roof over his head for a few days, and some food in his stomach.

Panel 5.

Same close-up shot of Joaquin. Gideon is in the background carrying a tray with some steaming soup on it.

Caption: Gideon nursed Joaquin back to consciousness, and tended to his wounds. As Joaquin recovered, he shared his story with Gideon...

PAGE FIVE

Panel 1.

A four-year old Joaquin sits in an office chair, within a cubicle. His legs dangle from the chair. For a young child, he seems very serious, devoid of emotion. A social worker sits off at an angle from him, talking on the phone.

Caption: A four year old Joaquin Ramirez sits patiently in the family services offices in San Diego...

Social Worker: San Diego Child and Family Services. We haven't been able to find a home for Joaquin Ramirez. I would like to transfer him. Maybe you'll have better luck there in Portland.

Panel 2.

Far shot of four year old Joaquin. He is wearing an ill-fitting pair of shorts, beat up shoes and a raggedy sweater. He is standing alone. A group of other children stand at a distance avoiding him. A kid is on the ground at his feet, having just been knocked down.

Caption: Portland was a nice city. The other kids were mostly friendly, yet there were a couple that treated newcomers not so well. They had been taunting Joaquin when he had defended himself.

Panel 3.

Full shot of four year old Joaquin. The other kids are walking away from him, looking back in fear. Joaquin looks upset.

Caption: Joaquin pushed one of them away once. And then again. The kid attacked him. The small Joaquin bobbed and weaved, flipped over the kid and landed a solid kick to his chest.

Caption: The other children were frightened of him.

Panel 4.

Similar shot as Panel 1. Joaquin is now six. The social worker is a different one, and this time we are in a more organized cubicle. She is on the phone. Joaquin looks bitter.

Social Worker: Hi. This is Child and Family Services for Portland Oregon. How are you? Great! I would like to talk about Joaquin Ramirez. Yes. The same one. It was a minor incident. I understand. Thank you for your help."

Panel 5

Another cubicle, another Child and Family Services. Again the general layout should be the same to show that these offices aren't that different. This time the social worker is sitting on her desk talking to Joaquin.

Caption: Reno Nevada. Joaquin Ramirez. 10 years old.

Social Worker: We'll be relocating you, Joaquin, but I have to be honest with you here: You're 10 years old. I don't know if moving you to Chicago will better your chances of finding a family for you. We will keep trying."

PAGE SIX

Panel 1.

Joaquin is passing a bag of groceries to an older heavyset woman. He is dressed in a grocery store uniform.

Caption: Winnipeg, Manitoba. Joaquin. 18 years old.

Woman: Thank you very much, Joaquin.

Panel 2.

3/4 shot. Joaquin enters into an apartment, greeted by a pregnant Spanish woman (Marisa), his own age. She is happy to see him. She greets him with a kiss and one hand in one of the grocery bags he is holding. Joaquin has a small smile, but looks a little disconnected.

Marisa: Did you buy the OreosÔ ? I had such a craving today!

Joaquin: Yes, I did.

Marisa: You're so sweet!

Panel 2.

Marisa is leaning against the countertop, eating cookies out of the bag, while Joaquin unloads the groceries.

Marisa: How was work today?

Joaquin: It was okay.

Marisa: Just okay? Nothing happened?

Panel 3.

1/4 shot of Joaquin and Marisa. He is looking to one side of her, ignoring her looking at him, not wanting to commit to eye contact.

Marisa: Come on, Joaquin! Talk to me. Let me in, honey. I want to share your day. Come on.

Panel 4.

3/4 shot. Joaquin is looking up from a downturned face, almost shy. Marisa is looking at him expectantly.

Joaquin: Nothing really. Mrs. Arbogast was flirting with me again.

Marisa: What a spry old lady! What else happened? Any strange shoppers? Any shoplifters? What else?

Panel 5.

Marisa is lying on a hospital bed. It is slightly angled. Joaquin is just walking up to the bed. Marisa looks sad.

Caption: Health Sciences Center.

Joaquin: Are you okay, Marisa? What happened?

Panel 6.

3/4 shot. Joaquin is talking to a doctor. He looks concerned.

Joaquin: Doctor! What's wrong with her? Is there a problem with the baby?

Doctor: It's just stress, son. Her blood pressure is high. You need to talk to her, ease her mind. Get her calm. I want avoid having to give her any kind of drug for the baby's sake. Try to calm her.

PAGE SEVEN

Panel 1.

Marisa is lying on the hospital bed. Joaquin sits on a chair beside the bed. He has his hands clasped in front of him.

Caption: Marisa owed a large sum of money to a lending agency. She had been trying to get back on her feet before she had met Joaquin. With the pregnancy, she had fallen behind in her payments.

Marisa: I didn't want to tell you.

Joaquin: I can help you pay this off, Marisa.

Marisa: Its too much money! You're bagging groceries for God's sake! You can't pay off a debt like that bagging groceries! What's wrong with you, Joaquin?

Joaquin: I will get a raise. I will ask for a promotion, something...

Marisa: Joaquin! Listen to me! Your little job ain't going to make any kind of difference! I owe $10,000, Joaquin!

Panel 2.

Full shot. Side shot of Joaquin. One hand is extended to open a door to a small office building. The sign on the building reads "Chauncy and Forbes".

Caption: Joaquin finds out who the moneylender is and decides to pay them a visit.

Panel 3.

Far shot from behind Joaquin at a 45-degree angle. He is in a large office with filing cabinets standing helter skelter in the room. A man sits at a desk, smoking a long thin cigarette (now known as Carl). His sleeves are rolled up past his elbows. He wears a stained burgundy vest and has suspenders. He has small wisps of hair on the top of his bald head. Three muscled guys (not parahumans) in suits stand around the desk, all with their eyes on Joaquin.

Carl: So what you're tellin' me is dat your girlfriend can't pay? Is dat right?

Joaquin: No. Not at all. She needs more time to pay off. Maybe she could make smaller payments for now, just to keep paying some off, until she goes back to work.

Panel 4.

1/4 shot of Carl. He has both elbows on the table. 45 degree angle. He is thinking.

Panel 5.

Same shot.

Carl: What? Do you think I'm some kinda nice guy, who's in dis to help people or something?

Carl: Do you think I just lend money ta anybody, you know, to like get dem on their feet? Is dat what you think?

PAGE EIGHT

Panel 1.

Slightly elevated far shot. Joaquin standing in front of the desk. His arms are extended out in explanation.

Joaquin: I understand you're a businessman. I understand you lend money to make money. It's a business...

Panel 2.

3/4 shot of Carl. He is standing, but leaning in on the table. He pounds a fist down on the table.

Carl: Your "chica" owes me some bread, Mister Romantic! If she don't pay up, I won't be held responsible for what happens ta her. Ya understand, you yahoo?

Carl: Huh? Do you?

Panel 3.

3/4 shot of Joaquin from the waist up. A look or realization is on his face. He fully understands this is not a standard money lending company.

Joaquin: I understand you. I understand clearly.

Panel 4.

Full shot of Joaquin and Carl. Carl is starting to walk away from Joaquin and the desk. He is waving to Joaquin.

Carl: She's got twenny-four hours to get me the dough. Capish? Be nice enough to send the message for me.

Joaquin: Hey!

Panel 5.

3/4 shot of Joaquin. He is standing strong, fists clenched. He is head is bowed down just slightly to cast a little shadow on his face.

Carl (off-panel): Yeah? Whaddaya want, buddy?

PAGE NINE

Panel 1.

Large panel. Full shot of Joaquin and Carl. Joaquin has knocked back the desk with one backhand flip of his left arm (some effort should be shown on Joaquin's face for this). His right arm has reached out and grabbed Carl by the collar. Carl is slightly off his feet and only very slightly surprised. In the background, his thugs are leaning in to get to Joaquin.

Panel 2.

Tight 1/4 shot of Joaquin and Carl. Joaquin has pulled Carl by the collar close-up to his own face.

Joaquin: You don't want this. You really don't want this. We can settle this like gentlemen.

Carl: Buddy-boy. Nothin's settled except a beatin' on youse.

Panel 3.

Full shot. One thug is on Joaquin's left arm. Another thug is reaching for Joaquin's right arm, which is just letting go of Carl, who is stepping back to fix his shirt.

Carl: Boys! Take care a dis creep! Let 'im know no one messes with Carl Marino!

Panel 4.

Joaquin elevates himself over the thug on his left arm (who still has a grip on Joaquin). The other thug to Joaquin's right is moving in, but looking ready to see what Joaquin is up to. The third thug is still on the periphery, waiting to see what happens. Carl is pointing to Joaquin.

Carl: You made things worse for ya'self, kid. Now you'll be beat up and your girlfriend will still owe me the money.

PAGE TEN

Panel 1.

Suspended over the left-hand thug by his left arm, Joaquin grabs the right-hand thug around his neck with his feet in a scissor hold.

Panel 2.

Joaquin flips the held thug over his head with his legs, much to the thug's surprise. The thug that still holds Joaquin is struggling under the weight of both men and his legs are buckling.

Panel 3.

The thug collapses under Joaquin's weight. He has let go of Joaquin's arm. Joaquin has straightened himself out at this point, landing on the thug. The thug that was thrown lands into one of the standing file cabinets. The third starts to move in.

Cabinet (fx): Crash!

Panel 4.

Joaquin shoots forward with a low kick into the third thug's shin, knocking him off balance. The thug he had landed on is getting to his feet, pulling a crowbar out of his jacket.

Panel 5.

The shinned thug holds his leg in pain. Joaquin pivots on one foot to swing around to sidekick the crowbar thug in his side. The crowbar falls.

PAGE ELEVEN

Panel 1.

Far shot. Joaquin grabs the shinned guy by the shirt, startling him. The thug with the crowbar is shaking his head. The thug in the cabinets is not moving. Carl is watching the whole thing in shocked surprise.

Panel 2.

Joaquin pitches (with some effort) the shinned thug into the crowbar thug. Carl is looking panicky.

Panel 3.

Far shot. Joaquin is walking towards Carl, purposefully. Carl is trying to look unafraid.

Joaquin: I told you didn't want this. I didn't want this either. You forced my hand.

Carl: Hey, kid! Youse just messed wit' the wrong guy, unnerstand? I won't just take 'dis. Your girlfriend owes me money. Dat's business!

Panel 4.

3/4 shot. Joaquin is in Carl's face. Carl is starting to muster some courage and venom.

Carl: She can't jes' walk away without payin'! Someone's always got to pay.

Joaquin: Not her! She's out of it, do you understand? If you have some kind of problem with her needing a little time, you have a problem with me! I don't want to see you harassing her!

PAGE TWELVE

Panel 1.

Back far shot of Joaquin. He is walking out of the office. Carl is close-up in the right hand side of the panel watching him leave.

Carl (whisper text): Well maybe you're the one dat owes me now.

Panel 2.

Far shot of Joaquin walking down the street. He is holding his hands out and staring at them.

Caption: Joaquin had power, power he'd only used once publicly. And yet, this day, he had wielded it like a pro, using instinct. He had stopped them all barely breaking a sweat. But he wouldn't lower himself to their level. He stopped them. He could have really hurt them. That wasn't necessary.

Panel 3.

At the hospital. Joaquin is sitting in the chair by Marisa's bedside, explaining things to her.

Caption: Joaquin tells Marisa that she did not need to worry about paying off the loan quickly.

Joaquin: I spoke to them. They will give you more time.

Marisa: You spoke to who? It couldn't have been Carl!

Joaquin: It was. I told him you were having some problems. You would make regular payments.

Panel 4.

Joaquin is standing on one leg in his living room with his other pointed at the ceiling.

Caption: Joaquin didn't want to tell her everything that happened. He did think that the money should be paid, but under reasonable terms. He didn't think she'd take kindly to his roughing Carl's men up. She would worry about him.

Panel 5.

Similar shot, except Joaquin is punching the air.

Caption: He decided he should not be turning his back on his abilities. He did some good today. He should try honing his abilities, understanding his power. He should not be afraid of being alienated for his power. He was a man now. He had Marisa. That was all that mattered.

Panel 6.

Full shot. Carl is standing at the desk from his office with his thugs around him. They are nursing the bruises they have. Carl looks incensed. Another man is at the table. He looks 50-ish, with thick white hair on his head. He is wearing a nice suit. He has his arms crossed and listening intently.

Caption: Joaquin honestly thought he had gotten the message across to Carl. They may have tried to scare the weak people, but they would give Marisa the time to pay her loan off.

Caption: Carl had no intention of letting this all go. He had every intention of getting even, and of getting his money. If he backed down from someone like Joaquin, a parahuman, this could affect his business, his reputation. He needed to cement his reputation here and now.

PAGE THIRTEEN

Panel 1.

Far shot, from a higher angle. Carl and his men surround Joaquin in an alleyway. They all have various weapons (rod, 2X4, wrench, tire iron...). There are three extra thugs (6 total). Carl has his hands behind his back.

Caption: A few days later, Carl and his men corner Joaquin...

Carl: You think I was jes' gonna take dat, big guy? You think I would let you ruin my rep? Your girl owed me money, plain and simple. You can't change dat unless you got the cash.

Joaquin: We went through this before, "Carl". I have every intention of paying you. It's the right thing to do. All we have to do is work the terms.

Panel 2.

Close-up of Carl. His face is red with anger. He is spitting as he talks.

Carl: I ain't some bank! And your girl knew dat too! Maybe you need to ask her what the money was for, wise guy! Maybe you wouldn'a come ta her rescue.

Panel 3.

Carl holds up an apple-sized device in his hand. It's some type of tech.

Carl: But now it's too late. Way too late. I'm ready for you.

Carl: Move in, boys!

Panel 4.

Joaquin stands in the center of the panel, his back to the reader. Carl is centered as well, but off in the background holding up the device, clicking it, and a light goes on. A thug (or two) are very slowly moving in.

Carl: Don't you want ta know what dis does? You'll find out soon enough. I know what you are.

Panel 5.

Joaquin faces the reader, in battle stance, ready for what is coming and confidant. Carl's six thugs move in, their weapons ready.

Joaquin (thinking): What is that thing? Some kind of weapon? A hi-tech grenade?

Joaquin (thinking): It doesn't matter. I was naïve in thinking they would let this go.

PAGE FOURTEEN

Panel 1.

Small panel 1/3 the width of the page. Joaquin lunges to his left to the closest thug with a 2X4. Most of the thugs should be in the panel.

Joaquin (thinking): I better take care of this quickly.

Panel 2.

Small panel 1/3 the width of the page. Joaquin launches a mean right hook at the thug, as the other thugs move in.

Joaquin (thinking): I should have cleared that guy with my leap. What happened?

Fx: Crack!

Panel 3.

Small panel 1/3 the width of the page. Joaquin drives a knee into the thug's gut. The other thugs are almost on him. One with a tire iron is in mid-swing.

Joaquin (thinking): This should do this guy!

Fx: Whump!

Panel 4.

The thug with the tire iron swings it high across Joaquin's head, in a deadening smash!

Fx: Smash!

Joaquin: Aaah!

Panel 5.

Joaquin is leaning forward, reeling from the blow, trying to hold onto consciousness. The thug that Joaquin had attacked is still conscious and in good shape. He swings his foot for a kick.

Joaquin (Joaquin): My skull!

Panel 6.

The thug connects with a knee to Joaquin's face, sending him backwards. Another thug is swinging at medium level with a crowbar.

Carl (off-panel): Got it figured out yet? Not feeling so "super" anymore are ya?

Fx: Smack!

Panel 7.

The thug with the crowbar slams it into Joaquin's back.

Carl (off panel): I figured you was one of those parahumans. So I got in touch with someone who knew how ta handle one of youse.

Fx: Crack!

Panel 8.

Joaquin crumbles in a ball to the ground. The thugs are like vultures around him. They are almost hesitant to hurt him further.

Carl (off panel): He sold me 'dis "inhibitor". It blocks powers. I thought dat would be a nifty device to have. Wouldn't you agree?

Panel 9.

Close-up of Joaquin's face. His lip is swelling, blood drips down from his mouth. His eyes are dazed. He is barely conscious.

Carl (off panel): I'm gonna' make you sorry for interferin' in my business, boy!

PAGE FIFTEEN

Panel 1.

Joaquin is sitting up on his couch, with Gideon listening on. Gideon looks likes he's cleaned himself up a bit. Joaquin looks healthier. It has been a few days.

Caption: Thanks to Gideon, Joaquin was alive, and just a little worse for wear. Joaquin was grateful to Gideon for getting him home alive, and getting him back on his feet.

Gideon: I'm glad you're okay. Those mugs did a real number on you. It was the least I could do.

Joaquin: You're more than welcome to stay here for a while, Gideon. I owe you.

Gideon: You gave me a roof over my head for a couple of days, and some food in my stomach. I think we're square.

Panel 2.

Gideon sitting on one sofa opposite Joaquin on the other sofa. They are talking, each with a cup of coffee.

Caption: Gideon was a private person, that much Joaquin knew, but he did share some things with Joaquin: his abilities, his "magics", and his need to hide from something. He did not go into any kind of detail, but it was clear that Gideon had his own demons.

Panel 3.

Close-up of Joaquin staring at the door, in the background, sitting on the couch.

Caption: Finally one day Gideon left the apartment. Joaquin assumed he had left for good. He had left without a word.

Panel 4.

Same shot as last. Except the door is open, and Gideon is entering.

Caption: He did return. He met with Carl and his men. "They won't be looking for anything to do with you ever again," he said. "I made sure of that."

Caption: All that Joaquin knew was that Gideon had come out of the shadows he had hidden in for so long for two things: to save Joaquin's life, and to fix things. Somehow they had forged a friendship in those few days, a friendship so strong that Gideon had taken a chance and gone out in the world.

Gideon: Now you do owe me. I told you I would earn my stay.

Panel 5.

Full shot. Joaquin and Gideon shake hands.

Caption: These two men who were loners, who lived in the shadows of the world, forgotten by most, forged a permanent friendship that day.

PAGE SIXTEEN

Panel 1.

Far shot of Joaquin walking. He is slowing down in front of Carl's place, kind of peeking in.

Caption: Gideon was true to his word. Carl would never bother Marisa or Joaquin again. What had Gideon done to persuade Carl to leave them alone? Had he put them out of business?

Panel 2.

View through the window. Carl is sitting at his desk, going through invoices.

Caption: Joaquin had this lingering thought: Gideon had killed Carl. But that was not the case. He was here, he was working, and none the worse for wear. He was still a loan shark.

Caption: Joaquin decided he would simply trust Gideon. He had done right by him... somehow.

Panel 3.

Large panel, to capture the emotional content of this event in Joaquin's life. Far shot of Joaquin. He is sitting outside his apartment door. His head in his hands, and he is visibly weeping.

Caption: Despite all this, Marisa did lose the baby. It was a great strain on both of them. So much so that Marisa left Joaquin shortly thereafter.

PAGE SEVENTEEN

Panel 1.

Full shot. Joaquin is in a tank top and shorts. He is sweating. He is ripped. He is standing on one leg, slightly crooked, while his other leg floats in the air, almost taking aim at an invisible opponent.

Caption: Joaquin decided it was time to take chances. For good or bad, he was beginning a new life. It was time to move on.

Caption: He had powers. But he needed more than that. He needed to train his body to be able to recognize the signals, so that he could use his body without relying on his powers. He needed to be stronger.

Panel 2.

Joaquin is in a gym, overseeing someone doing lateral pulldowns. He is decked out in a tanktop and sweats. He is buff.

Caption: His instincts towards training his body were great. It was like his head was wired to know what a body needs and doesn't need. It gave him an edge.

Caption: It gave him an edge to training other people. He left the supermarket and started working at Lesnar's gym.

Panel 3.

Full shot. Joaquin is pointing at Gideon, a wide smile on both their faces. Gideon seems to be trying to put Joaquin off unconvincingly.

Caption: Things were good. Joaquin was starting to feel better about himself, realizing some sort of potential.

Caption: He even convinced Gideon to come out of his shell.

Panel 4.

Joaquin is helping a woman to her feet, who had been knocked down. Joaquin has a balaclava on his head. Gideon is holding a purse in one hand. In his other hand, he is pinning a thug to the wall with his energy powers. Gideon had his hoodie pulled over his head to hide his face.

Caption: Together, Joaquin and Gideon started breaking up a few crimes...

Panel 5.

Joaquin (with balaclava on) and Gideon (with hood pulled on) face two agents of Hi Tech Henchmen, while two other people are at their feet (recapping the theft of the first Symka tablet from issue 1 and 2).

Caption: One of which was the theft of a tablet known as the Symka.

PAGE EIGHTEEN

Panel 1.

Katharta stands proudly and strongly in an office in the Independent News building. Standing in front of him is one of his "hounds". The hound has his hands clasped behind his back. His stance is confident.

Caption: In the studios of Independent News, Manus Katharta is in a meeting with one of his underlings...

Katharta: Have you found them?

Panel 2.

3/4 shot of both men.

Hound: No, master.

Hound: They have suffered grievous injuries in their altercation with the entities Morpheus and Mordo. We are searching all the hospitals now for them. It is just a matter of time.

Katharta: Very well. Report when you have found them.

Panel 3.

Far shot. Katharta still stands there, watching the hound leave the office.

Panel 4.

Shot from over Katharta's right shoulder.

Katharta (thinking): This fight they had with those beings was spectacular.

Katharta (thinking): And Gideon led the charge!

Panel 5.

Front shot. Katharta's head tilted slightly to one side.

Katharta (thinking): A leader? My son?

Katharta (thinking): Perhaps I have not put enough value in his abilities. Perhaps I have underestimated him.

Panel 6.

One step back, with one hand's extended fingers on his desk. He is beginning to turn around.

Katharta (thinking): I need to bring him in. No more games. He very well may be deciding to collect the tablets, but he will do it for me...

Katharta (thinking): ...DIRECTLY!

PAGE NINETEEN

Panel 1.

Far aerial shot. A man dressed in black slacks and black sweater approaches the Concordia Hospital down the main entrance. He does have an impressive build and exudes confidence. He is alone. No patients or visitors are near.

Caption: Concordia Hospital...

Panel 2.

Rear 3/4 shot of the man (now known as Black). He has his hands extended to each side of him. Powder slips through his hands onto the ground.

Panel 3.

1/4 shot of Black. Still from behind him, but catching a glimpse of his face. It is not so important to keep this man's face a secret, just to build a little mystery to a new stranger entering the fold. He is chanting something.

Black (in whisper text): Cama su tertier. Sono cama pri esme.

Panel 4.

Side 1/4 shot. Black is standing next to the entranceway to the hospital. He has one arm fully extended, palm flat on the wall next to the entrance. His head is slightly bowed, his eyes are closed.

Black (whisper text): Cama su tertier.

Panel 5.

Rear far shot. Black walks through the hospital entrance.

Panel 6.

Far shot of Black walking towards Dale, Stick, and Gideon, who are still sitting down in the waiting area.

Panel 7.

3/4 shot of Stick, Gideon, and Dale Turcott. They are all looking at Black (who is off-panel).

Black (off panel): I would like to speak with you, "Stick". I work for Blue Moon.

PAGE TWENTY

Panel 1.

Stick is standing, ready to fight, fists clenched. Gideon is starting to get up. Dale is still seated but tense. Black stands there calm.

Black: I am not here to fight you - any of you.

Black: Please, this is not an appropriate place for violence.

Stick: Who are you?

Black: My name doesn't matter, only Blue Moon's mission.

Panel 2.

Close-up of Black's face, entirely expressionless.

Black: Can we talk?

Panel 3.

Stick is leaning forward towards Black, almost in his face. Gideon stands behind Stick, ready to back him up. Dale stands off to one side watching this, unsure of what to make of it.

Stick: Yeah. But not here.

Black: No. Here is the safest place. Trust me.

Gideon: Trust you? Who is this quack?

Panel 4.

Black stands, feet wide, arms hanging loosely at his sides. He is not afraid, or intimidated. Although not the most impressive appearance, Black's confidence should pour out of him. His eyes should show his power. He is staring at Stick, implying some sort of connection. Stick, Gideon and Dale all watch Black.

Black: I am not an enemy. In fact, I intend to help, as our paths do cross one another's.

Panel 5.

Same as last panel, from a different angle.

Stick: Okay, we talk. What do you want from us?

Black: To buy you time. To help your search for the Symka tablets. I offer you information.

Panel 6.

Close-up of Stick and Black, looking at one another.

Black: All I want from you is to listen to me.

PAGE TWENTY-ONE

Panel 1.

Everyone is seated, including Black. The group sits in front of Black, no one to any side of him. Everyone seems calmer.

Black: As you know, there are four tablets. The inscriptions on each of these tablets are the same. At least they appear that way.

Black: Only when one or more of the tablets are brought together will the inscriptions change. It tells a story.

Black: The Symka tablets have not been brought together since their creation several centuries ago. There is a reason for that.

Panel 2.

Same as last, different angle..

Black: Blue Moon has kept them apart. We have spent our entire existence preventing its power from falling into anyone's hands.

Black: As of late, the energies of the tablets have started to surface, bubbling over.

Black: Gideon, when you touched the tablet the first time, your mind opened up and you saw things. And later still, the second touch opened your mind farther, giving you the ability to tap into Katharta's own power. You combined that power with your own, thus opening your mind even further.

Panel 3.

Same as last.

Black: What power the tablets give singly to its user wears off over time, until it is restored by touching it again. You also become a beacon to everyone that has ever come into contact with the tablets.

Black: Its power is palpable, so that anyone who has touched a tablet has been "tattooed" by it, has become one of the Symka. You, Gideon, are forever marked.

Panel 4.

Same as last.

Black: Each of these tablets has bubbled over. This power, though small, has afflicted its seekers like a cancer.

Black: There are several agencies worldwide that have spent lifetimes in pursuit of them. And they all do it for one thing: POWER.

Black: The tablets have something to do with the legend inscribed on them, of Manapatapoo and Pitawa, the brothers locked in eternal combat. Not one of these seekers represent either of them. Theirs is not a holy quest.

Panel 5.

Same as last.

Black: My task, as a member of Blue Moon, is to forever keep the tablets apart, or to bring them together once and for all, to destroy them, if such a thing can be accomplished.

Black: Separately, the tablets cannot be destroyed. Only by joining them together can they be obliterated.

Panel 6.

Same as last.

Gideon: That's where we come in? You want to help us accomplish this? We have the power to destroy them?

Black: Blue Moon has spent its existence devising a... a spell. We believe we have reinforced this spell enough to accomplish the task. It has taken centuries of concentration, of building, of many generations working towards this one spell that we now should be able to accomplish what couldn't be done before...

Black: ... the destruction of the tablets.

PAGE TWENTY-TWO

Panel 1.

Two hounds enter into the hospital. They are looking around.

Panel 2.

They walk past Gideon, Dale, Stick, and Black. They are looking at the hounds in surprise and shock. The hounds are looking right at them.

Black: Wait.

Panel 3.

The hounds walk down a hallway.

Dale: They looked right at us!

Black: But they saw someone else. You are safe within the walls of the hospital. Everyone is, including your downed comrade, Silver. Here you can heal, and remain hidden. I have bought you time to get stronger.

Black: The ward will only last on the building until you all leave. You must be strong for your next task.

Panel 4.

Larger panel. Closer shot of Gideon, Dale, Stick and Black.

Black: Let me tell you about King King ...

Caption: Next issue, our group gets one step closer to acquiring another tablet. Featuring a surprise guest star: Watchman!

Editor's Note:

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

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