Symka Part 13

Copyright Sean McGinity © 2004

Edited by Suzanne Campbell for The Guild Companion

"Where's the psychedelic organ music?"

Page One

Splash Page. Inside an independently owned coffee shop. The place is spotless with darker lighting. Full side shot of Stick and Silver seated at a table, facing one another. They are seated next to a window. Stick has his mask off, trusting in Silver, thinking she is some sort of conscience his mind has derived. He wears a trench coat over his costume. She looks very reassuring to him, looking him over compassionately. It is night outside.

Stick: This coffee is good.

Silver: It's a little secret place I discovered. It's a great place to sit and think... or to talk. How's your arm?

Stick: It's fine. A little sore. You bandaged it well, though.

Stick: I don't know what came over me. I thought he was trying to hurt her.

Silver: He was trying to hurt her.

Stick: I'm not sure.

Silver: Why not?

Stick: How can you question me? You weren't even there.

Silver: I was there... at the end. I was too late to help you. But I don't think it would have changed things. I don't think it should have changed things.

Title: Beginnings

Page Two. (illustration)

The panels have rounded edges to suggest this happening in the past.

Panel 1.

An alleyway. An old sedan is parked crookedly in the alley, reducing the chance of any other car trying to get by. The headlights of the car shine on three people standing in a triangular formation, in a slight bird's eye view. They are Stick, Silver, and Jonah Grubb. Stick is in his old uniform, with one sleeve ripped off and a fresh bandage around his arm where he was shot last issue. Silver is wearing her standard sweat top and bottom. Detective Jonah Grubb is a hard-nosed, cigarette-smoking character with hard lines on his face, graying temples, two days of stubble, and a dirty cigarette dangling from his lips. Despite his rough appearance he is only in his thirties; he looks like he's lived a short but very hard life. He looks tired. It is dark except for the headlights.

Caption: Silver arranges a meeting between Stick and Jonah Grubb, a former police detective, now running independently as a private detective.

Jonah: You killed him? Well that's interesting. You're the guy that did it?

Stick: I thought you should know. I'm sorry I didn't turn myself in sooner ....

Panel 2.

Three-quarter shot. Stick on the left side, almost looking sick to his stomach, opposed by Jonah Grubb, who winces as if he had trouble seeing, and Silver centered in the panel looking at Stick.

Jonah: You're a funny guy, you know? You knew who this guy was, didn't you?

Stick: I wasn't sure. I thought I was doing the right thing.

Panel 3.

Same shot as last, except that Stick is looking down. Stick looks lost, almost as if he is barely aware of where he is, his sorrow is so overwhelming. The beginnings of some drizzling rain starts, spattering a few random drops on the trio.

Stick: I tried to save someone but it all....

Jonah: Hold on, buddy! The case is closed. It's over. Ain't nothing you can do about it.

Stick: What do you mean closed? The man ... I killed him.

Panel 4.

Similar shot to last, but off at an angle with Jonah and Silver centered on the shot and looking at one another. Back shot of Stick, head still drooping. Jonah is pulling a drag from the cigarette. A few spatters of rain fall.

Jonah: Why'd you bother setting this up, Val? This is wasting my time.

Silver: He needed to do this.

Jonah: For what?

Panel 5.

Tight one-quarter shot of the three. Jonah's on the left of the panel this time, back shot of Silver in the middle of the panel and Stick on the right. Jonah has a hand held up at Silver and is half looking at her. The drizzle turns into a light rain, small rivulets starting to run down their faces.

Jonah: Look, superhero, you did a good deed, something I wish I could'a done myself. Your pal Val here was working on the case. I sent Suzanne to see her, to see if I could make things work out.

Stick: Suzanne?

Jonah: Yeah.

Jonah: The lady you saved.

Jonah: She was seeing Val here. Val's a very good shrink. She has this uncanny way with patients. Creeps me out really how good she is at this.

Jonah: Anyway, I figured Val could help little Suzie out with her problem, you know. Suzie is a sweet gal, when you get ta know her.

Panel 6.

Tight one-quarter shot of Stick (on the right) and Jonah (left) facing one another. Jonah is leaning forward, towards Stick, cigarette smoke flowing out of his nose. (The word balloons grow out of the panel to show their weight). The rain continues, their hair getting wetter.

Stick: What does this ...?

Jonah: Shaddup, would'ja? I'm telling you a story here. Val said this would do ya some good and I'm doin' her a favor because of the great work she does, helpin' out the force the way she has.

Jonah: I was trying ta get Suzie away from her husband but things were real sticky. As is the case a lot of the time, the abused wife won't turn the husband in. They press charges an' then drop 'em. A lot of these guys never end up behind bars.

Page Three.

Panel 1.

Same shot as last. Jonah is talking with his hands a little, the cigarette being held in one of his hands. Stick is looking up and seems shocked at what Jonah is saying. Jonah has a disgusted look on his face. Continued drizzle.

Jonah: Henry was doing some pretty rotten shit to Suzy.

Stick: What sort of things?

Jonah: I'd ask you to use your imagination but I wouldn't wish that on anyone, alright? Let's just say after the last episode she was hospitalized for a coupla weeks. Well, I was sure she would press charges after that.

Panel 2.

Close-up shot of Jonah. He looks very sad and disappointed in what he has to say. The rain falling down his face could be mistaken for tears.

Jonah: She didn't.

Panel 3.

Same shot as last. He is fighting the emotions within him unconvincingly.

Jonah: I called up Val here, ta get some help. Suzie was so delicate, you know... psychological trauma. I didn't want to make matters worse for her, but I also wanted to save her.

Jonah: Val took her in a pro-bono type deal.

Panel 4.

Slight worm's eye view, triangle configuration of the three, with Jonah the focus. His head is downcast and from this angle his face becomes shadowed. Stick is sad as well, this new information making him feel worse. Silver watches Stick's reaction out of the corner of her eye. She is trying to determine how he is taking this.

Jonah: Sorry, I didn't want to think on this anymore.

Jonah: Henry decides he's gonna move away. Like he feels the pressure's on. He knows I know and am just waiting for the opportunity to bust his ass. He tells me he needs to protect her from me ...ta get her away from me.

Jonah: I lost it. I attacked him, got suspended from the force for it. Since she kept retracting the charges against her husband, he had committed no crime. I was the bad guy. He even filed a restraining order against me.

Panel 5.

Tight one-quarter shot of Silver. She has heard all of this before, but she still feels pity at the telling.

Silver: Jonah called me and told me what happened. I got a call from Henry. He was canceling her treatments, citing that she had psychological problems and I was making them worse. I decided to follow her after that, in fear for her life. I felt that Henry would try to kill Suzanne, as punishment.

Silver: That's when I found you, Stick. Somehow you were there ...

Jonah (off-panel): And you killed the bastard. Who knows what he intended for her.

Panel 6.

Three-quarter shot of the three. Stick is holding his hands, trying to get across to them both what he did.

Stick: I ...I killed him. I took a man's life.

Silver: Yes ...yes you did. I don't agree with killing anyone ...despite what Jonah says. Henry needed help.

Jonah: But he might have killed her. If not that night, then the next night, or the night after. Time was not on Suzie's side. It's a good thing you happened when you did ...

Panel 7.

Same shot as last, but Jonah changes his attention to Silver.

Jonah: ... whether it was right or wrong.

Panel 8.

Same shot as last but a smaller panel with the focus on Stick and Silver.

Silver: I've booked Suzanne to see me again so I can help her along help her get over all this.

Page Four.

Panel 1.

Three-quarter shot. Silver has a hand on Gideon's forearm, trying to reassure him his actions were not evil. Jonah is looking on, having regained his composure. He is watching the two of them, unimpressed.

Silver: You killed him, and your penance is living with that ...

Silver: and learning from that.

Jonah: Listen hotshot ...I'm indebted to you. I don't wish that burden of killing someone on anyone ...I was thrown off the force because they had to; they didn't want to. Everybody at the precinct knew this guy was going to kill her. They knew I was trying to save her.

Panel 2.

Tight three-quarter front shot of Jonah, cigarette in mouth.

Jonah: I heard from the inside that no one is going to be looking too hard into Henry's death. This will be left as an unsolved crime. They won't investigate it. They don't have the resources or the time. At least that's what they'll say to the public.

Panel 3.

Three-quarter shot. Jonah is pointing his cigarette hand at Stick proudly. Stick looks at him. He isn't as dazed and confused as before. He's not in some other world anymore.

Jonah: I'm sorry you had to be the one to do it but thanks anyway.

Jonah: You're a hero in my book.

Panel 4.

Large panel. Worm's eye view of Stick in the foreground of the panel in a full shot. He is looking up into the drizzle, the rain running down his face, symbolically washing the sin away. Silver and Jonah are behind him, looking at him with pity for the burden of murder he will have to carry for the rest of his days.

Page Five.

The panels no longer have the rounded edges.

Panel 1.

Full shot, worm's eye view, almost identical to the last panel with Katharta in the place of Stick. Katharta is in a room. He is wearing nothing but silk pants, loose and flowing, with a sash as a belt. His hair is unbound and hangs to his waist.

Caption: In an undisclosed location in Winnipeg, Katharta begins the ceremony of power, a ritual he has practiced for over a hundred years.

Panel 2.

Small panel, inside Panel 3. A large gold bowl with red liquid in it.

Panel 3.

Small panel, same shot as last but with Katharta's hand dipping into it.

Panel 4.

Wide panel, tight one-quarter shot of Katharta's body from the shoulders down. He is crouched down starting to draw a line with his red drenched hand starting on the left of the panel -

Panel 5.

- creating the beginning of a circle around him with his hand ending on the right hand side of the panel.

Panel 6.

Tall narrow panel. Katharta stands up. The red liquid drips from his hand. His other hand is outstretched forward.

Katharta: Come!

Page 6.

Panel 1.

Large wide panel. Katharta stands in the middle, arms outstretched to each side in a full shot. Two men in robes approach him, quills in hand. The gold bowl is at his feet.

Panel 2.

Small tight panel inserted into panel 3. Close-up of the robed men's hands dipping their quills into the liquid in the bowl.

Panel 3.

Three-quarter shot. The men in robes begin scrawling with their quills onto Katharta's chest in ancient Tibetan.

Panel 4.

One quarter shot, obviously some time later. Katharta's body is covered in Tibetan script. The servants stand before him waiting for their next command.

Katharta: Fetch me the sacrifices!

Page Seven.

The panels have rounded edges to them to suggest past events.

Panel 1.

El Tigre stands over the Symka tablet in a recap from Issue 11. He has his enchanted blade held high over his head.

Caption: Earlier that day, in a reckless effort to keep one of the Symka tablets out of Katharta's hands, El Tigre attempts to destroy it ...

El Tigre: If we can't get the tablet, then neither can you!

Panel 2.

El Tigre strikes down on the tablet; energies from the tablet coursing through his body.

Caption: ... with an enchanted blade he acquired in New York.* The attack on the tablet caused a feedback of magical energies to course through El Tigre.

*Note: See Issue 10.

Panel 3.

El Tigre's body starts to droop down, the energy around him dispersing, the blade no longer in contact with the tablet. His eyes roll up into his head. This panel merges into the next.

Caption: The shock rendered El Tigre unconscious immediately -

Panel 4.

His body falls flat on the ground; his eyes are still semi-open. This panel blends into the next one.

Caption: - his mind retreating within itself...

Panel 5.

The edges of the panel become wavy where the ground gives way to this other world. An ethereal form of El Tigre falls through the ground and into a dreamy dimension. In this panel, not much of the dimension can be seen, just flashing stars and a milky green sky. El Tigre's physical body is being left behind.

Caption: - to spare him the pain.

Page Eight.

Splash Page. El Tigre in a far, far shot. He is falling in some strange dimension devoid of any solid ground. The "sky" is a milky green. Floating masses litter the "sky": earth, concrete, grassy knolls, sidewalks, a playground, a bed, a sofa among other things. These are "sandbars" within El Tigre's mind. Among the floating objects is a large tentacle, crusted with barnacles that winds its way through the panel.

Caption: But where has he gone? Is he mad?

Page Nine.

All of the panels have this wavy feel to them to suggest El Tigre is on another plane.

Panel 1.

El Tigre lands on the sandbar. It is some ten feet thick and miles long. There is no impact despite the velocity, like gravity doesn't really exist here. El Tigre seems unhurt.

Panel 2.

Full shot. El Tigre gets up and looks at his body, standing on the sandbar.

El Tigre: I can't feel my body.

Panel 3.

Same shot, but El Tigre begins to walk along the sandbar.

El Tigre: But I can still control it. What happened to me? I struck the tablet hard and now ...? Now I'm on some acid-trip dream.

El Tigre: Where's the psychedelic organ music?

Page Ten.

Panel 1.

Large panel showing the surroundings. The masses are in movement around El Tigre and the sandbar. He is looking around. The sandbar he's on is moving, drawing him upwards, like he's traveling thousands of miles per hour.

Panel 2.

Tight one-quarter shot of El Tigre. He is distracted by a voice.

The voice (the word balloon points to no one and is simply floating in the panel, the edges of the balloon are ethereal): Who art thou?

Page Eleven.

Panel 1.

Full shot. El Tigre is looking around for the owner of the voice. The sandbar is still moving quickly upward. El Tigre plants his feet wide so as not to fall.

El Tigre: What? Where am I?

The voice: Thou attacked the scripture. Should not I be querying thou, little tiger? Very well; I will answer. We art in thy mind.

Panel 2.

Looking suspiciously around this time in a three-quarter shot.

El Tigre: My mind?

The voice: Yea. When thou struck the scripture, thou became one with the word.

El Tigre: The scripture? The Symka tablets? Scripture? What are we doing in my mind? Why should I believe...? I don't even know who or what I'm talking to!

Panel 3.

El Tigre looks up, suspecting he is being brought to the voice. The sky changes from a milky green to a milky blue. Also, the sandbar is slowing down somewhat.

The voice: Thy queries are growing in number. They shall be answered: whether thy trust "the voice" or not matters little. I shall answer thy queries. Thou shall do with the answers as thou shall.

Panel 4.

Large clear blue sky panel with red surrounding it, the red bleeding into the blue. At the center of the panels as an anchor is El Tigre watching these images. Four tablets, side by side with a beautiful sky blue around it.

The voice: The scripture, the Asemka, broken into four readings, carry the aspects of the good of mankind. The scripture is the soul of good embodied in a shell, a final enchantment should good ever be vanquished.

Page Twelve.

Panel 1.

The background color is predominantly red although the blue is still perceptible in spots, not yet flooded by the red). Again El Tigre is at the centre of the images. An ancient army, in robes and armor, faces off against a similar army. One army's robes are green while the other is red. At the head of the green army is a man taller than the rest, wearing "prettier" armor, engraved with Tibetan script. His polar opposite, Pitawa, leads the red army. On the right side of the panel, the color bleeds into green. Several old men with long white hair and beards that have never been trimmed are chiseling into a tablet. Three other tablets, untouched, are stacked above it. Next to this are several ancient scrolls, weathered with age that the men are copying from.

The voice: These scriptures were conjured during years of struggle against the Evil, a last attempt to save the world from the corruption of the Evil one. Good must always struggle with Evil, to balance Utopia against Anarchy. The scripture, the Asemka, were created to bring good back to the world

Panel 2.

The man in green, unarmored here, clutches his chest in a dying moment. The panel has droplets of red blood rolling down the panel.

The voice: --- when Good was destroyed in battle against Evil.

Page Thirteen.

Panel 1.

The entire panel has a blood-red tinge to the perimeter of it. Within the panel are overlapping images: Nazi soldiers marching before a Nazi flag; a couple of Klu Klux Klan members carrying a burning cross; chained Australian aborigines being driven away in the back of a truck; far shot of Switzerland burning.

The voice: But the evil one learned of this and used his power to keep them apart, as their joining would return good to the world. Many evils have happened in good's absence.

El Tigre (off-panel): Are you ... are you Manapatapoo?

Panel 2.

Far shot of El Tigre standing on the barnacle. The sky has a fading image of the previous panel.

The voice (Manapatapoo): That is a name that others have used. If thou require a name, this one shall suffice.

El Tigre: And the evil one, that's Pitawa?

Manapatapoo: That has been a name used: Sngon Po Zla Ba -Blue Moon is another.

Page Fourteen.

Panel 1.

Three-quarter shot of El Tigre looking up where he suspects the voice is.

El Tigre: Blue Moon? Blue Moon is Pitawa? Are you sure? That's insane! Blue Moon's trying to unite the tablets!

Manapatapoo: That is the appearance. In fact he has played a game with thou and with any that are in possession of the scriptures. Thou will find that the evil shall assemble them to disperse them again, never having all four together at one time. He keeps in contact with multiple parties, aiding each one, never allowing any one group to gain all four, and playing them against one another.

Panel 2.

The sandbar heaves like a whip sending El Tigre flying upward towards the top of the sky, which seems flat and like paper.

El Tigre: What's happening?

Panel 3.

Far shot. El Tigre smashes through the top of the sky, bursting through as if it were made of paper, into space just over the planet Earth. He's several hundred miles above the Earth, with North America the continent in focus.

Page Fifteen.

Panel 1.

Full shot of El Tigre and the planet below him. His momentum is slowing down and he is floating in space.

El Tigre: This is all in my mind?

Manapatapoo: In a way ... these images before thee are thine own mind's interpretation of the things I show you.

El Tigre: Why can't I see you?

Manapatapoo: Thou must find it within thyself ... perhaps thy lack of faith hides what thou dost not believe in.

Manapatapoo: Nevertheless, before thee are the keys to victory.

El Tigre: Wait one minute here! Are you saying I don't believe in God? Is that it? And why are you helping me, whatever you're supposed to be? Why should I trust you?

Manapatapoo: Dost thou trust thyself? I do not question thy faith, I merely tell thee what I see. Thou hast proven thy merit recently. Thou struck the tablet to protect the others, to protect the world. Although that did not entirely succeed, it was enough to raise my consciousness. The evil one has been responsible for many things. His day must be done and order to the world restored.

Page Sixteen.

Panel 1.

One-quarter shot over El Tigre's shoulder. Below is the Earth with four shining beacons, three in Winnipeg, one in the Pacific Ocean.

Manapatapoo: Watch.

Panel 2-1.

Two panels, blended together as one. Zooming in (not under his own control), El Tigre is now over two of them, together in Winnipeg. They are within a lead case, inside a backpack, in a locker in a subway station.

Manapatapoo: These two thou art aware of.

Panel 2-2.

El Tigre zooms over to the other one in Winnipeg. The tablet is being carried on a cart into a room with a table. The table is nothing more than a block. The walls are non-descript, completely bare, but with no imperfections to them.

Manapatapoo: Here is the tablet the evil one's descendent hides.

Panel 3.

Pan out. The room is inside a building. Far shot. Several minions, leapers and Hi Tech Henchmen are walking the halls. The HTH are armed with large blast rifles, similar in design to their handguns but look much more powerful. Four Minions walk into the room and stand around the table. Outside the room are two leapers and two Hi Tech Henchmen. The walls are transparent so nothing is hidden.

Panel 4.

Pan out again, this time in a far, far shot of the outside of the building, which is the Hi Tech Henchmen building.

El Tigre: So they've moved it. It's at the Hi Tech Henchmen building."

Page Seventeen.

Panel 1.

El Tigre is zooming again, this time over the United States, traveling over the Pacific Ocean, stopping at an island with a large temple upon it. The temple is square, built from large slabs of stone (similar to the Aztec pyramids) with three tiers to it. Large and wide stone stairs lead up to the massive iron double doors. The doors are some 25 feet in height and 10 feet wide each. The temple is 100 feet in height. The island itself is a tropical one with thick jungle surrounding it and rocky beaches on each front. The southern part of the island has a tiny inlet. The island is roughly 5 miles wide by 2 miles long.

Manapatapoo: The other - Mordo Island, an uncharted island in the Pacific.

Panel 2.

El Tigre zooms in (again not under his control) towards the temple, where he is some 50 feet away from it.

Manapatapoo: Some sort of magic ...blocks access to seeing inside the edifice. Yet the scripture, the fourth, rests here.

El Tigre: What ... what do you want me to do? These Symka tablets ...these will summon you?

Manapatapoo: They will summon a good to combat the evil.

Panel 3.

Tight one-quarter shot of El Tigre.

El Tigre: The evil - the evil of Blue Moon, of Pitawa, Katharta's ancestor.

Manapatapoo: The path is laid before thee.

Page Eighteen.

Panel 1.

Full shot. A hospital. Bryan Falkingham lies in the bed while Bryce Richardson watches on from a chair next to the bed. Bryce is exhausted. He has barely slept in days.

Caption: A Winnipeg hospital... Bryan Richardson recovers from injuries he suffered during a fight between the Symka group and a group of parahuman mercenaries he'd hired. He has been in a coma since the confrontation. His best friend and confidante Bryce has not left his side since.

Bryce: Repairs have started on the restaurant, Bryan. Things are underway.

Panel 2.

Tighter three-quarter shot from over the bed. Bryce is leaning forward while Bryan lies unconscious.

Bryce: I really question our choices of protection. Watchman and that New York based group really let us down. And this is what happened. Broken ribs for me. And you ...?

Bryce: You ...I don't even know if you're coming out of this.

Panel 3.

Tight close-up shot. Bryce is holding up his fist and shaking it.

Bryce: There will be a reckoning. I won't let what happened just be. I will take care of this - But not now.

Panel 4.

Full shot. Bryce is looking at Bryan, almost in tears.

Bryce: Not now ...

Panel 5.

Far shot. The rooftop of the Richardson building. Gideon stands at the center of the roof. El Tigre lies to one side of him and a sitting Stick leans up against the edge of the roof on the opposite side. It is daylight.

Caption: The rooftop of the Richardson building -

Caption: El Tigre and Stick both fell from injuries suffered in a fight against Katharta and his followers. Gideon has stayed behind to watch over them.

Panel 6.

Three-quarter shot. The rooftop exit opens up with Dale Turcott and Silver entering. Silver is wearing her sweats. Dale has a medical kit in his hands and some thin strips of wood.

Silver: I found Dale.

Gideon: I see that.

Silver: I have some medical supplies.

Gideon: Yeah.

Panel 7.

Full shot. Dale and Silver are hunched over Stick, placing the pieces of wood on each side of Stick's broken leg. Gideon stands, arms crossed over them.

Gideon: It's good you found Turcott, Silver. He was probably wondering if we had ditched him. How you doing, Turcott?

Panel 8.

Tight three-quarter shot. Dale looks up at Gideon who is just watching them. Silver is wrapping Stick's leg.

Dale: You okay, Gideon?

Gideon: I'm fine. Look, I ... thought about healing Stick. I healed all of the injuries but the broken leg. I think I want to try doing the leg.

Panel 9.

Same shot, different angle. Silver also looks up at Gideon.

Silver: Gideon?

Gideon: I'm the reason he broke his leg in the first place.

Silver: We get his leg splinted and we get out of here. Dale has his car here.

Dale: I'll take you back to my place. We can worry about things from there - under controlled conditions.

Panel 10.

Same shot. Gideon is looking down, sullen.

Gideon: All ... all right.

Silver: And then I would like to try to reach into Joaquin's mind and see if I can find where he's hidden.

Gideon: ---

Page 19.

Panel 1.

Far overhead view of Dale's Range Rover driving through the Winnipeg streets. In the distance a few blocks over, the Diamond Emporium Building can also be seen. The place is surrounded with police and ambulances and fire trucks. The whole block is cordoned off.

Dale (thinking): My apartment isn't safe anymore and neither is my house outside the city. It's time for option three.

Panel 2.

Far shot. The Rover races past the perimeter highway that surrounds the city, heading towards the country.

Silver: Dale? Where are we going?

Dale: Someplace safe, someplace secret. Somewhere you can all heal in peace.

Panel 3.

Similar shot as last, with the Rover bursting through the brush into a circular clearing in a copse of trees. Within the clearing is a small log cabin.

Caption: A half-hour outside Winnipeg, Dale's all-terrain vehicle bursts through the bush.

Dale: Here we are.

Panel 4.

Far shot. Gideon, Dale and Silver exit the vehicle. They are looking the place over.

Silver: Where exactly is here?

Dale: If I tell you I'll have to kill you.

Panel 5.

Tight one-quarter shot. Silver and Gideon eye Dale with a look of concern and shock.

Dale: I'm kidding! Sorry. Just wanted to add some levity to the situation.

Panel 6.

Similar shot, slightly different angle. Gideon laughs.

Gideon: Good to see all this hasn't soured you, Turcott. So what is this place?

Dale: A secret place. I gained quite a bit of notoriety while I was in Chicago. Became a little famous. It was the reason I moved to Winnipeg, to get away from all that. I bought this place under an alias in case things got out of control again.

Gideon: Well they did. You're famous again.

Dale: Yeah. For all the wrong reasons, too.

Panel 7.

Far establishing shot of the interior of the cabin. The three walk into the place. Gideon is carrying El Tigre over his shoulder; Dale is carrying Stick over his shoulder. The cabin has that typical look with log walls. There's a small kitchen and sink against the far left wall from the door. A couch and a chair sit near the middle of the room. A carpet is laid out on the floor between both pieces of furniture. A wood stove is piped into the wall opposite the door.

Gideon: Nice place.

Dale: You know, Gideon, I can't figure you out.

Gideon: Good. That's the way I like it. It keeps my profile low, I've ... I've gotten good at it. I've been hiding most of my life.

Dale: Why?

Gideon: Why? I think it's really obvious.

Panel 8.

Full shot. Gideon is putting El Tigre down on one of the couches. Dale is putting Stick down on the lounge chair. Silver is checking the place out with her back to them.

Dale: That's not what I mean. You're so secretive. I feel like you have your own agenda going on here.

Gideon: My own agenda? My own agenda? You have no idea. But if you think I'm going to screw Silver and the rest of them over, you're out of your mind.

Page Twenty.

Panel 1.

Three-quarter shot. Silver steps in. She puts a hand on his arm.

Silver: Gideon, calm down.

Dale: I'm not questioning your loyalty Gideon. You've got me wrong.

Gideon: Then what is it, Dale?

Silver: Dale and I were speaking about you taking off on us earlier.

Dale: They told me you just up and left for the Diamond Emporium building, alone.

Gideon: Yes, I did. They all went against me. Thought I was crazy to want to go there.

Panel 2.

Tighter one-quarter shot, reminiscent of the scene with Stick, Silver and Jonah earlier.

Silver: You had no plan, Gideon. We weren't against the idea, just the fact that you wanted to go in there with no plan.

Dale: You all got out alive. And barely. Gideon, these people were worried about your safety.

Gideon: So what? It was my idea. No one agreed with it so I went in alone. You all followed me. It was your choice to follow me.

Dale: That's exactly what I'm talking about! With a concentrated attack maybe you could have been more effective. You could have been in and out quickly. Hell, you could have talked to me. I have some background in the military -

Stick (off-panel): Enough!

Panel 3.

Stick on the chair. He is pulling himself up.

Silver (off-panel): Stick?

Stick: Gideon did what he had to do. He knew how dangerous this was. He chose to go to save us.

Stick: You are hiding something from us, Gideon. When we went toe to toe with that demon Mordo, you were the only one that was level-headed enough to not attack him. Our attack upon that demon endangered lives. It endangered your life, Silver. You almost died from our actions. But Gideon ... Gideon remained calm.

Stick: He knew we needed to assess the situation, to assess this incredibly powerful being. He knew we were totally outclassed and provoking him was the wrong thing to do.

Panel 4.

Side three-quarter shot. Gideon facing Stick. Stick is still in the chair. He holds out a hand towards Gideon. Silver and Dale watch Stick.

Stick: So why would you go alone and unprepared to your father's home base, Gideon? That's what really bugged me. For someone as calculating and careful as you, why did you take that chance? You must have known you'd fail.

Gideon: I ...I ... don't know.

Panel 5.

Back to the one-quarter shot of the four of them.

Dale: Were you in your right mind?

Silver: I never even thought of it. Gideon, were you mind-controlled?

Gideon: Mind-controlled? You think I was mind-controlled? Me?

Panel 6.

Tighter shot. Silver gets closer to Gideon. Gideon looks at her stupefied.

Silver: You touched the tablet. More than once. And it has had some effects on you. Is it so crazy to say that one of the effects is that the tablets want to be brought back together? Maybe you're their instrument.

Gideon: Maybe, it's possible I guess.

Page Twenty-One

Panel 1.

Silver raises a hand towards Gideon's head, ready to touch his head and try to scan his mind. Gideon holds a hand out to block Silver's. Stick is in the edge of the shot.

Silver: I could scan your mind to find out.

Gideon: Scan my - no you can't! Silver, don't even think of it!

Silver: Don't you trust me?

Gideon: I .. I can't. I just can't.

Silver: ---

Stick: It's okay, Gideon. We'll watch your back.

Panel 2.

Three-quarter shot. Gideon holds a hand out towards Stick. Stick looks surprised.

Gideon: Stick, I promised I would try to heal your leg.

Stick: You ... did?

Gideon: Let's get this over with.

Stick: Gideon, the break ... it's bad. I'm afraid to even look at it.

Stick: Look ... my body heals faster than most. Let's see what it can do with the injury. Besides, who knows what will happen when you try to heal it. You might endanger yourself.

Panel 3.

Close-up of Stick's face, a look of recognition on it.

Gideon (off-panel): I need to do this, Stick. You were hurt because of me.

Stick (thinking): That look in his eyes ... the sound of his voice ... like when I killed that man.

Stick: Gideon, it's okay, let me rest. Don't worry about me. You owe me nothing.

Panel 4.

Three-quarter shot of the four of them. Gideon is very serious. He is turning to face Dale.

Gideon: I do owe you.

Gideon: Dale? I need your car. I'm going into town.

Dale: Sure.

Stick: What?

Panel 5.

Same shot. Gideon has his hands held out at his side in explanation.

Gideon: You lost your staff, your primary fighting weapon. You're pretty good with that thing. I intend to locate it.

Silver: Wait a minute, Gideon! It's not safe in the city. We need to lay low -

Gideon: No. This is me talking, Silver. I don't know if that damned tablet possessed me or not, but this is me now. Stick needs to heal. And he needs his staff.

Gideon: If Stick isn't one hundred percent, he's no good to us. Since I got him into this and he won't let me heal him the least I can do is get his weapon back!

Panel 6.

Same shot. Gideon is more focused.

Silver: No, you're not doing that. No way, Gideon! Katharta has the staff. He took it with him when he left. You're going head-on with Katharta? Alone?

Gideon: Hang on, Silver! You don't know what it felt like when those tentacles of energy burst out of the tablet and attacked me. They attacked everyone that had been in contact with any of the tablets. And that includes daddy himself! To top things off, my father flew off on his own power, staff in hand. That staff has some sort of enchantment on it that shocks anyone in contact with it except for Stick.

Page Twenty-Two

Panel 1.

Stick leans up a little higher. In the background, Dale is rolling up a rug from the centre of the room.

Stick: What are you saying, Gideon?

Gideon: My father would have ditched your staff. He got it away from you, flew off and likely got rid of it. If that's the case, the staff is out there, a danger to anyone who finds it. It's my duty to retrieve this thing before anyone else does. As it is, I've wasted enough time here.

Gideon: Dale, the keys to your car!

Panel 2.

Silver holds a hand up blocking Gideon from going anywhere. Dale puts the rolled rug against a wall.

Silver: You proved your point, but you're not going alone. I'm coming with you.

Panel 3.

Tight one-quarter shot, almost hinting at some sort of thing between Silver and Gideon. Gideon smiles.

Gideon: Must be my magnetic personality.

Gideon: Okay, but who's going to watch over Stick and Joaquin?

Dale (off-panel): I will.

Panel 4.

Focus on Dale. He's opening the trap door to a cellar that was under the rug.

Dale: You didn't hear anything about my time in Chicago, did you?

Dale: Some dirty pool was being played there. I got the stories because I was ready for them. A lot of reporters end up at the end of some assassin's bullet.

Panel 5.

Pan out to a far shot. Dale pulls out a machine gun from the cellar. The others look at Dale in surprise.

Dale: I learned a long time ago to protect myself.

Silver: Where did you get that?

Dale: Besides being my place to get away from it all, this cabin was also a perfect place to hide things. The weapons aren't exactly legal ...

Stick: This has to be black market hardware!

Dale: You could say that.

Panel 6.

Full shot of everyone. Gideon puts his hands on his hips, and puts on a half-smile. Stick is smiling at the development.

Gideon: Just full of surprises, aren't you?

Dale: I was a reserve for a few years. Made some good contacts. Acquired some things. They helped save my neck a number of times. Most recently, in fact, when the Hi Tech Henchmen broke into my house.*

Dale: Don't worry, I'll have this armed with rubber bullets. I don't intend to kill anyone. Go get the staff before anyone gets hurt.

Stick: I'll be fine and it will give me time to heal.

*Note: Way back in Issue 3, Hi Tech Henchmen tried to kill both Dale and Willis Tanchuk at Dale's house.

Caption: Be back next issue as Gideon and Silver search for Stick's staff, Silver comes up with another of her plans and Katharta starts to spread his web ...

Editor's Note:

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