Symka: Part 20

Copyright Sean McGinity © 2004

Edited by Nicholas HM Caldwell for The Guild Companion

"You are about to reach critical mass!"

Page 1

Splash Page.

Stick and Gideon are standing in the center of the panel, facing off against Bryce and Marrow, in a full angled side shot. Silver, in her eagle form is flapping her wings just over Stick and Gideon. Gideon's hands are building green magical energy. Bryce's eyes are pure venom, with a look that could kill. Marrow is confused, unsure of what to do next after the revelation last issue that Bryce was responsible for the bombing of the Diamond Emporium Building.

In the background are Trish and Trevor getting this on film. There are a few stragglers still in the restaurant, but it is mostly empty.

Trish: We are reporting live on the scene as moments ago at Freitag's Tavern in downtown Winnipeg, Bryce Falkingham, co-owner of Octavian's restaurant attacked the group of parahumans referred to in the media as the...

Title: ...Tablet Murderers.

Page 2

Panel 1.

Full shot. Raze and El Tigre are squaring off with one another. They are both in combat stance, trying to read the other's intentions to forecast each's next move.

Caption: Raze tried to take out Stick last issue with a double arm energy blast, much like he did in their first encounter*. This time, however, El Tigre jumped in and managed to separate the diamond-hard skinned mercenary.

El Tigre (thinking): Raze almost took out Stick --- again. Luckily I was able to tackle him before he fired on Stick. Why was Stick just standing there?

*Editor's Note: Back in Issue 10.

Panel 2.

Raze throws a punch forward which El Tigre backsteps. There are a couple of bystanders watching the fight, cheering on El Tigre.

El Tigre (thinking): And how do I take out this guy. The last time I had to drop him off the roof of a building just to slow him down*. I don't have any height and far too many innocent bystanders around to do any good.

*Editor's Note: Back in Issue 10 again.

Panel 3.

Backhanded double axe-handle from Raze towards El Tigre, who hops back out of the way. He is also pulling out his enchanted blade (the one he stole from Blaster back in Issue 10).

El Tigre: Whoa!

Panel 4.

El Tigre is charging towards Raze with blade drawn.

El Tigre: Enough of this. This blade hurt you last time.

Panel 5.

El Tigre ducks an over-handed swing from Raze, and jams the blade into Raze's stomach.


Page 3

Panel 1.

Slight bird's eye shot of Gideon standing next to Stick who is standing firm in front of Marrow and Bryce. Silver in her eagle form is flying near them all.

Bryce: Get him Marrow! Get him now! I want those tablets! Don't fail me again!

Stick: Do it, big guy. Just do it. Prove it to me that I need to beat you for all the lives your group took. Justify the violence I am going to unleash on you.

Panel 2.

A slightly maniacal looking Stick next to Gideon who is looking a little worried in a three-quarter shot.

Gideon: Stick, enough talk! Let's wrap this up quick, before any more innocents get hurt.

Gideon (thinking): Come on, Stick! Let's see you lick this violent streak of yours. I'm leaving this up to you against my better judgment. Be the hero Silver says you are.

Panel 3.

Full shot. Across the room, Blaster is getting to his feet. He is shaking his head to clear the cobwebs. Near him are Trish Wilby and Trevor Sigurdson. Trevor has the video camera on Blaster. Trish is talking into a microphone in front of Trevor.

Trish: The first out of the fight is this man, apparently in the employ of Bryce Richardson. He was blasted across the restaurant by the man known as Gideon from some sort of energy in his hands.

Blaster: I ain't out of no fight, bimbo!

Panel 4.

Blaster is getting to his feet and nonchalantly waving his hand towards Trish in a threatening way, to keep her distance. Trish takes one step back.

Blaster: And get your stinking camera off of me!

Panel 5.

Trish reacts, with a karate kick to Blaster's hand. She isn't some witless reporter. She's learned to take care of herself. Trevor is a little surprised.

Trish: Back off, creep! You've already been taken out of this fight. Don't let me be your second coming.

Blaster: You little...

Panel 6.

Blaster pulls out a sawed-off rifle from under his coat. He looks mean. And he means business.

Blaster: Bad move, reporters.

Panel 7.

Tight one-quarter shot of Blaster pumping the shotgun.

Blaster: Bad move.

Page 4

Panel 1.

Back to Stick and Gideon. Stick grabs Bryce by the collar and hoists him in the air. Gideon is watching both Marrow and Stick nervously.

Stick: You've been bad. You've destroyed people's lives. You killed people.

Panel 2.

Stick pulls him in close. Tight one-quarter shot of both Bryce and Stick. Bryce is starting to sweat.

Stick: Killed people, Bryce. I am sorry for what I did to Bryan. I have to live with that. But whether what I did was right or wrong, it never justified what you did to all those people. And what I do to you will have everything to do with stopping you from doing it again.

Panel 3.

Far shot of Stick holding up Bryce. Gideon is raising a green force field between them and Marrow. In the forefront of the panel is Blaster with his shotgun turned on the two reporters. He is turning his head towards Bryce who is calling him.

Bryce: Youfreakingmaniac! Blaster? Kill him.

Blaster: What?

Panel 4.

Side shot of Blaster with the shotgun drawn on the reporters.

Blaster: Time out. I have bigger fish to fry.

Panel 5.

Blaster is running towards Bryce and Stick.

Blaster: I'll be back to finish you both off.

Page 5

Panel 1.

El Tigre and Raze in a full shot. El Tigre is leapfrogging over Raze. He has the blade in his hand, with fresh blood on it. Raze has a cut on his stomach where El Tigre stabbed him, but there is little to no blood coming from the wound.

El Tigre (thinking): The blade hurt him but now he's all over me. Got to keep him at bay and try to get some stabs at him.

Panel 2.

Tight one-quarter shot of El Tigre's arms on top of Raze (as part of the leapfrog). Raze has grabbed his arms.

El Tigre (thinking): Uh-oh.

Panel 3.

Full shot. Raze is whipping El Tigre up in the air, winding up for the downward throw.

Panel 4.

Raze whips down El Tigre in a full shot into the floor. The floor gives under the assault in a large impact splash.


Page 6

Panel 1.

Back to Gideon and Stick. Gideon has raised a shield to protect them from the shotgun blasts being fired by Blaster across the restaurant. Marrow is on the other side of the force field stepping back to avoid the potential ricochets.

Gideon: Finish it, Stick! Do what you came here to do. I don't how much longer until that lunatic with the gun gets through my force field.

Stick: Yes. You hear that Bryce, no one to stop me. Gideon has my back. There's no one to stop me. Maybe I'll let Gideon get in a shot or two on you.

Panel 2.

Silver flies over the shield towards Blaster.

Silver (thinking): I don't know exactly what Stick is doing but it's not what I would have thought. I think he's reigned in his demons and come to grips with what he's done. He's playing here, trying to use his reputation to scare Bryce...

Silver (thinking): ...and I think Bryce needs a little scare.

Panel 3.

Silver flits towards Blaster, transforming from eagle to lion in a full shot of both of them. Trish and Trevor are getting all of this. Blaster is surprised by the transformation.

Blaster: What the...? A lion? Where the hell did you come from?

Panel 4.

She claws at him with a swipe of a claw, trying to break his shotgun, but Blaster's panic and reflexes get the weapon out of the way... barely.

Page 7

Panel 1.

Silver is clawing at Blaster, preventing him from even being able to get a shot at her. Her nose is twitching with a scent she's caught. He is trying to protect his weapon and himself. He is stepping back. In the background in a far shot, Raze is bent-over a hole in the ground and looking in Silver's direction.

Blaster: Stay back! Stay back!

Panel 2.

Reverse of the last shot with Raze in the foreground and Blaster and Silver in the background. She is still swiping at Blaster. Raze is straightening himself up. At his feet is a hole in the floor, where he had planted El Tigre moments ago. Out of shot, El Tigre is now in the basement dazed.

Silver (thinking): El Tigre? He was fighting that maniac with the diamond-hard skin. Where did he go?

Silver (thinking): That whole in the floor? That man is a powerhouse. Hope Joaquin's all right.

Panel 3.

Back shot of Raze moving stealthily towards Silver and Blaster.

Silver (thinking): Oh no you don't. You can't sneak up on my heightened senses in this form. Move in just a little closer you!

Panel 4.

Blaster backhands himself over a table, putting it between himself and Silver.

Blaster: Ha ha! Just a matter of time before I got the advantage. I'll put this table between us and kill you like every other I've set my sights on.

Panel 5.

Blaster fires a double shotgun blast in an angled front three-quarter shot. He has a devilish grin on his face.

Blaster: Ha ha ha ha!


Page 8

Panel 1.

Large panel. Like a steel-spring, Silver leaps out of the blasts' way.

Panel 2.

Back angled three-quarter shot of Raze, both blasts hitting him square in the chest so the damage done is not visible. Raze is flinching.


Panel 3.

Close-up one-quarter shot of Blaster.

Blaster: Oops.

Page 9

Panel 1.

Full shot. Gideon is holding up the force field, putting his own will behind it. Marrow is standing in front of the field, cocking back an arm, ready to strike. In the background behind the field is Stick holding Bryce up by the collar.

Marrow: This has gone on far enough. I'm taking control of the situation. And you, "Gideon" are in my way.

Panel 2.

Large panel. Marrow strikes the force field. Hairline fractures build out from the point of impact all the way to the edges of the field. It is a massive blow. Gideon's face winces in pain.


Page 10

Panel 1.

Full shot. Gideon is reeling from the impact, stepping back, losing all balance. Marrow walks past him as if he wasn't even there while shards of the force field rain down on him. He is making his way towards Stick who is looking back at Marrow with annoyance in the background of the panel.

Marrow: Let him down.

Panel 2.

Wide panel, far shot, showing Marrow closing the distance of a few feet between himself and Stick.

Marrow: I may be slow in realizing he's scum, but that doesn't give you any reason to kill the man. He needs to be turned over to the proper authorities.

Stick: Well now you are seeing things my way.

Panel 3.

Side shot of both men. Stick still has Bryce held (whose eyes are wide in fear). Marrow is readying another blow with a cocked back fist.

Panel 4.

Stick is through the wall like a rocket, retreating into the background of the panel, still clutching a piece of Bryce's collar from the impact of the blow (that happened off-panel).

Page 11

Panel 1.

Marrow is holding Bryce up effortlessly by the ripped collar. A piece of Bryce's shirt is ripped off. Bryce is in amazement.

Bryce: You... you knocked him through the wall like a rocket.

Bryce: It's...

Panel 2.

Tighter shot of both men in a three-quarter shot. Bryce's fear has turned to back to his hateful maniacal look.

Bryce: ... it's about time you came around. Now let's finish the rest off!

Panel 3.

Raze is looking down at his chest, in a little bit of amazement. The material of his shirt is ripped open from the shotgun blasts but he is unhurt. He is surprised he was shot at. He is holding his arms out, almost to test he is still alive.

Panel 4.

Raze looks up at Blaster who is pointing at Silver who is in the center of the panel. Silver is leaping towards Raze.

Blaster: Come on, you lunkhead! Get that...

Blaster: ...that lion!

Silver: ROAAR!

Panel 5.

This is business as per usual for Raze and he doesn't move. He catches Silver.

Panel 6.

Close-up of Silver's leonine face, a look of worry.

Silver: Uh-oh.

Panel 7.

With pure brute strength, Raze throws her across the room and behind the bar, smashing into the numerous bottles stocked there.


Page 12

Panel 1.

Far shot of Marrow and Bryce, who is still being held up by Marrow. Gideon is also in the panel, struggling to remain standing, but hunched over.

Bryce: You're supposed to be the leader of your little group of mercenaries. Let's see you take more of them down! Gideon, the hobo is still standing, barely.

Panel 2.

Marrow pulls him close in a tight one-quarter side shot.

Marrow: You've violated our contract, Bryce. You hired us to return a piece stolen from you. Not to be bodyguards while you flagrantly threatened a group of parahumans. And definitely not while you attempted to mass murder innocents who had nothing to do with anything.

Marrow: And now?

Marrow: Now I am keeping my eyes on you.

Panel 3.

Full shot of Marrow. He is pressing his index finger to his headset, while flinging Bryce away (not with a lot of force but enough to knock him out). Gideon is still trying to raise himself to a standing position.

Marrow: Blinshriek? We're coming in. We have nothing left to accomplish here. We can head to South America and pick up another contract there.

Headset (with an electronic word balloon): Marrow? You are in the middle of a situation there. You can't just leave.

Marrow: Check your cameras you have all over the place. It's over.

Panel 4.

One-quarter shot of Gideon and Marrow. Gideon is now almost standing straight but it is obviously with a lot of effort. Marrow looks at Gideon unimpressed and not worried.

Gideon: Uh-uh, big boy.

Gideon: You're not leaving now, not after what you did to those poor people at the Diamond Emporium Building.

Marrow: I wasn't in on it and now that I know who did, our contract with Bryce is over.

Gideon: It's not that easy. I will stop you.

Marrow: You can barely stand.

Panel 5.

Three-quarter shot of Gideon, who is fighting gravity and the pounding in his head.

Marrow (off-panel): Part of my power is feedback. When I struck your force field, the damage fed back to you. You likely have a pounding headache right now. Not enough willpower to do anything, much less hit me with one of those magical blasts of yours. The fight is over.

Panel 6.

Wide, short panel. Far shot. Marrow has an arm extended and is motioning to Raze to come along from across the restaurant. Raze is facing the bar, waiting for Silver to come up. The restaurant is a shambles. Blaster is looking at Marrow, pissed off. Gideon is watching, helpless and holding his head.

Marrow: Come on, Raze. Time to go.

Marrow: Blaster? You're fired.

Page 13

Panel 1.

One-quarter shot of Blaster. The reporters are behind him some dozen feet, still getting everything on camera. Blaster has a finger pointed strongly in Marrow's direction (who is off-panel). He has his shotgun rested in the crook of his other arm. He isn't ready to leave and he isn't okay with being fired.

Blaster: Screw you, you piece of crap! You blew this for us! This was a big money contract, unlike the last few duds we worked on. This was the big time, a reputation builder.

Blaster: Now, do your job and finish off that magic wielding hobo or I'll do it for you.

Panel 2.

Three-quarter shot. Blaster is walking towards Marrow and Gideon, pumping the shotgun. He means business. Marrow is frustrated and tired and almost doesn't care what happens from here on in.

Blaster: Never mind, I will do it for me!

Panel 3.

Back angled shot of Trish and Trevor. They are excited and afraid all at the same time.

Trish: Are you getting this?

Trevor: Yes, I'm getting it all... all of it.

Trish: We're still live as the last standing Tablet Murderer, Gideon faces off against an enraged shotgun-wielding maniac.

Panel 4.

Wide short panel. Blaster fires a shot at Gideon. Gideon raises his forearms up and creates a shield just in time, stopping the blast, but not preventing a slight ricochet off the shield. Marrow is directly in front and beside Gideon, and is hit lightly by the shrapnel against his back.


Marrow: What?!?!

Gideon: UH!

Panel 5.

Another wide short panel. Gideon has placed his legs wide to help balance himself. Marrow is advancing on Blaster who fires another shotgun blast at the force field. The shrapnel from the shot is still in his back and sticking out.

Marrow: It comes down to this, doesn't it?

Panel 6.

Marrow lunges forward and grabs Blaster's shotgun. The grip is so strong the shotgun partially crumbles in his grasp. Blaster immediately lets go of the shotgun.

Marrow: Give me that, you nutjob!

Page 14

Panel 1.

Far shot. Several ghost images of Blaster putting some kicks into Marrow to no effect, one of which Marrow blocks with a forearm. These kicks have very little effect on Marrow. Trevor and Trish are getting all of this on camera.

Blaster: I've had enough of your silly girl scout behavior, Marrow! I'm taking over this team and you're going down as the panty-waist you are!

Panel 2.

Marrow gets in a hit to Blaster's right elbow from a failed hit on Blaster's part. There is a small shockwave effect on the elbow from the feedback of Marrow's hit.

Marrow: You never stood a chance against me, Blaster. Why I put up with you for as long as I did is beyond me.

Marrow: Ah! See, I've already connected. With the force of the feedback, your arm is going to be useless.

Panel 3.

Overhand swing from Marrow as Blaster steps back nursing his elbow with a pained look on his face. The overhead swing exposes part of Marrow's back where the shrapnel imbedded itself. There is a slight glow coming from the hole in his back.

Blaster: Bleeding hell! That hurts!

Panel 4.

Side three-quarter shot as Marrow gets his hands on Blaster's throat and pushes him down to the ground. The wound on Marrow is getting bigger and the glow is larger.

Marrow: Don't fight me, Blaster. I'm not going to kill you. I'm just going to hold on long enough until you slip into unconsciousness. But I want you to think on this as you fall into unconsciousness that I could kill, I just chose not to.

Panel 5.

Same shot, reverse angle. Blaster is jabbing his knee into Marrow's back, where the shrapnel is, widening the hole.

Marrow: OW!

Marrow: Struggle all you want, you're starting to pass out.

Page 15

Panel 1.

Far shot. Marrow is on top of Blaster, still choking him, Raze has moved and is watching and waiting for them to finish. Blaster is still kicking his knee into the shrapnel in Marrow's back.

Marrow: Stop struggling. Ow! What are you doing? You're actually hurting me.

Panel 2.

Marrow stands up. Blaster is clutching his throat, exasperated and happy to be breathing. Raze is looking at Marrow with curiosity with his head tilted, much like a dog might. There is a large glowing hole in Marrow's back now.

Headset (with electronic word balloon): Marrow? Brock? It's me, Blinshriek! You are about to reach critical mass!

Marrow: What?!?

Panel 3.

One-quarter shot. Marrow is twisting around to look at his back. He notices the glow and is starting to panic.

Marrow: You fool! You unmitigated fool!

Panel 4.

Three-quarter shot of Gideon leaning up against a wall with one hand. His other arm is hanging and the green shield is still up.

Gideon (thinking): Critical mass? I'm taking no chances.

Gideon (thinking): I'm going to nestle myself behind this heavy oak table for some extra protection.

Panel 5.

Full shot of the whole crew. Marrow is waving his arms around to get people to run away. Trish and Trevor are in the panel. Trish is pushing Trevor, trying to get him to move away. Trevor is more interested in getting the shot. Raze is watching Marrow, confused as to what's going on. The remaining patrons of the restaurant are fleeing. El Tigre, Silver and Stick are still out and out of panel. Gideon is hunkering down behind an oak table that is lying on its side, keeping his shield in front of himself.

Trish: I don't like this at all.

Trish: Trevor! Move it! Now.

Trevor: One more shot. I'm okay; we need to get this on film.

Page 16

Panel 1.

Blaster is struggling to get to his feet. Marrow is looking at him, resigned to what's about to happen.

Blaster: cough! Cough! What's... cough... happening? You're... cough... glowing.

Panel 2.

Tight one-quarter shot. Marrow is looking at a terrified Blaster.

Marrow: You are about to die. By your own hand.

Panel 3.

Large panel. Angled bird's eye view of the outside of Freitag's tavern.

Caption: Marrow's power is not one widely known. His feedback strikes, his dense skin, his stamina are all derivatives of his main power.

Caption: His body's main purpose is to contain the pressure inside of him.

Page 17

Panel 1.

Large panel, same as last, except... Freitag's suffers an explosion inside, blowing out the windows and parts of the walls. It is enough to decimate a good portion of the interior, but is more or less self-contained, with the overflow coming out of the hole in the wall Stick made, and every other opening.

Caption: Marrow is a living bomb.


Panel 2.

Front three-quarter shot of the front of Freitag's. The explosion is done. Smoke and dust pours out and floats in the air. Everything is silent. Stick is lying unconscious in the street. There are cars parked haphazardly, some still have people sitting in them clutching their steering wheels.

Panel 3.

Tight one-quarter shot of Stick. He is opening his eyes.

Stick: ohhhhhhhh.

Page 18

Panel 1.

Full shot. Stick pulls himself to his feet, a little shaky but mostly recovered. A few bystanders are walking about now that Stick is on his feet.

Stick: What happened? Last thing I remember is doughboy knocking me for a loop.

Innocent Bystander: Stick? Are you alright?

Stick: Wha? Yes... I am.

Innocent Bystander: The building blew up some time after you shot out through the wall.

Panel 2.

Front angled three-quarter shot. Stick is moving towards the building.

Stick: Did anyone get out?

Innocent Bystander: Lots of people, both before and after you redecorated the outside wall.

Stick: Good. What I wanted to hear. Thanks for the info, and thanks for your help. I'm going in. Call the cops or something.

Panel 3.

The bystander is holding up a hand.

Innocent Bystander: Wait!

Panel 4.

Side three-quarter shot of both of them.

Innocent Bystander: Can I get an autograph?

Stick: What?

Innocent Bystander: I'm a fan.

Panel 5.

Stick is pointing away in the distance.

Stick: Tell the police what you saw and I promise I will give you whatever you like.

Page 19-20

Panel 1.

Inside the restaurant, El Tigre is pulling himself out of the hole into the basement he was in. He looks a little battered but otherwise okay.

El Tigre: Oh no! Not another explosion! What happened here?

Panel 2.

Silver in a far shot, standing behind the bar in her human form, covering her breasts with an arm. Her lower half is covered by the bar itself. El Tigre is in the forefront of the panel in a one-quarter shot looking over at her.

Silver: No, no. I just came to. Some sort of explosion. How can this have happened again?

El Tigre: I don't see any bodies... that's a good sign. Maybe they evacuated the place in time.

Panel 3.

This panel fills up both pages except for the previous two panels. Far shot of El Tigre pointing to the forefront of the panel where Marrow's body lay face down on the ground, overtop of a charred Blaster. His back is open, like an explosion happened from inside Marrow, blowing his back open. All of his back is there, just ripped open like some sort ripped open orange. Inside his back are no bones, just a slow trickle of energy rising up like smoke. Next to Marrow and Blaster is Raze lying on his back on the ground, apparently alive and in one piece. The front part of his costume is burnt off. Underneath the costume is a bald man with average features and a flat nose.

El Tigre: Wait! Over there!

Page 21

Panel 1.

Full shot. Stick walks in, grateful to see Silver and Stick (Silver is still behind the bar).

Stick: Is everyone okay?

Silver: Other than a few bumps and bruises, yes.

El Tigre: Marrow, Blaster and Raze are here. Looks like someone blew Marrow up.

Panel 2.

One-quarter shot of Stick.

Stick: Ew! That's awful. Poor guy. Looked like he was coming around even though he clocked me one good. Where's Gideon? He must have gotten out.


Stick: Eh?

Panel 3.

Full shot. Gideon pushes the oak table he was hiding behind and it falls flat on its back.

Gideon: I know what happened.

Panel 4.

Gideon is standing up dusting himself off as Stick and El Tigre approach him. Silver is shapechanging into her dog form towards Gideon.

Gideon: Marrow and Blaster were having some spat. Blaster pierced Marrow's skin off of a shotgun blast meant for me. The piercing kept growing and growing until Marrow blew up.

Gideon: I think he's still alive.

Panel 5.

The four of them talking.

Silver: Alive? You have got to be kidding me?

El Tigre: No, look. Gideon's right. His back is starting to heal up.

Panel 6.

Close-up of the back, with some wiggle movement. Compared to the previous shot of it, it has sealed some already.

Stick: God. Like some sort of defense mechanism.

Page 22

Panel 1.

Three-quarter shot. Gideon is bending down over Blaster and Raze. Silver is sniffing Raze.

Gideon: I don't think Blaster is breathing though. He was at the epicenter of the blast. He didn't have a chance in hell.

Silver: Raze is still alive.

El Tigre: Figures. Did I tell I dropped that guy off the roof...?

Stick: Too many times.

El Tigre: I saved your butt this time from him.

Stick: But that doesn't account for last time, "Tigre".

Panel 2.

Gideon is checking for a pulse on Blaster in a full shot of the group.

Gideon: There's no pulse. He's gone.

Silver: What a tragedy.

Gideon: He died the way he lived: massacring people. A fitting tribute if you ask me.

Silver: I didn't. How can you say that, Gideon?

Panel 3.

Gideon stands with the rest looking him at him questioningly.

Gideon: I killed my own father, remember? He too deserved to die.

El Tigre (thinking): I haven't forgotten about the choice you made, Gideon, and the hand I played in it. I also have noticed how you're hair has darkened dramatically in the last few days. Your roots are as dark as your father's.

Panel 4.

One-quarter shot of the four.

Gideon: Now's not the time to talk about it. I want to make sure the place is clear before we leave. I don't want any other deaths on our conscience. I want to make sure everyone got out.

Gideon: Marrow was shouting for the last of the people to leave when he realized what was about to happen. There were a couple of stubborn reporters sticking behind. I hope they had the sense to leave.

Panel 5.

Caption: The Bryce situation gets wrapped up next issue, and our heroes' reputation starts bringing out some old friends from the woodworks. Join us next issue.